The following was passed unanimously on September 18, 2013:
PURDUE STUDENT SENATE
"Saving the Hoosier State Line"
Author: Micah Matlock
Sponsor(s): Luke Zimmerman, Nicole Ellis
President Pro Tempore: Micah Matlock
Student Senate President: Meg Highley
Student Body President: Kyle Pendergast
Whereas, Purdue Student Government is committed to supporting and providing student accessibility to and from campus, and
Whereas, many of out-of-state and international students travel to and from O'Hare International Airport and Indianapolis Airport and Purdue's Campus, and
Whereas, the Hoosier State line offers consistent, reliable, frequent opportunities to travel to O'Hare and Midway, and
Whereas, Purdue Student Government ought to support efforts to increase the number of students involved in study abroad and international internships directly related to their field of study, and
Whereas, there has been an increase in the number of global opportunities for students, including tourism and study abroad, and
Whereas, the Hoosier State Line offers Purdue University the opportunity to continue national leadership in bringing students from around the world to study on our campus, and
Whereas, as of 2012, the international student body comprises 21.8% of the total number of enrolled students, and
Whereas, as of 2012, Purdue University ranked 2nd in the Big Ten and 4th in the nation in total international student enrollment, and
Whereas, one of Purdue University's core values is diversity in that we honor the history, traditions and culture of all members of the university community and promote a nurturing environment and we celebrate diversity and the unique contributions of individuals, and
Whereas, yet another one of Purdue University's core values is accessibility in that we believe that every student should have the ability to participate in our programs and that we provide assistance to make our programs and services available to all members of the University, and
Whereas, last year, Amtrak alone put $70 million dollars into the Indiana economy in wages and supply purchases, and
Whereas, Purdue Student Government has been asked by Amtrak to support their funding and their initiatives;
Therefore, be it RECOMMENDED by Purdue Student Government Senate that Purdue University consider supporting the Hoosier State Line's annual allocation of at least $3 million by the Indiana State Department of Transportation prior to October 1st, 2013.
Student Body President Student Senate President
Saving the Hoosier State Line.
Purpose: To support and defend the funding of the Hoosier State Line by the state of Indiana.
Recommendation: The Indiana State Department of Transportation (INDOT) should continue the funding of the Hoosier State Line.
Problem Addressed: If funding to the Hoosier State Line were to cease, out-of state students, international students and students with limited transportation options at Purdue University would be put at a financial and logistical disadvantage.
- Passenger rail will promote economic development and is increasingly important to being economically competitive.
- Studies show that twenty and thirty year olds have a declining interest in auto transportation: later and less interest in drivers licenses, auto ownership; more interest in using commuter time for electronic devices and/or productive work; more interest in living in urban areas serviced by transit and rail.
- Greater Lafayette Commerce's recent quality of life study done by Next Generation Consulting of Madison, Wisconsin, showed these same results for the Lafayette-West Lafayette community. A GLC implementation committee was charged with improving our community's passenger rail service.
- The Hoosier State Line provides a vital transportation option for college students, especially international students, at Purdue University and other colleges and universities along the line.
- State and local governments offer many different types of incentives to entice companies to do business here, e.g. tax abatements, job training. Quality-of-life, however, is frequently the most important factor in the decision, with intermodal transportation ranking high on that list. Good passenger rail service should be a vital element in the state's business development strategy.
- Hoosier State Line service can provide a valuable connection for our center city business district to the larger markets of Chicago and Indianapolis.
- A recent study ("Midwest High-Speed Rail Supply Chain," Feb., 2013) showed that 99 of the 460 companies in the Midwest that provide component parts and services to the U.S. passenger rail industry are in Indiana.
- Nanshan America Advanced Aluminum Technologies, which opened recently in Lafayette after the ELPC study was completed, is one more significant addition to that list.
- Another Indiana example is the Amtrak repair shops in Beech Grove. In addition to passenger service, the Hoosier State Line also brings railcars in need of repair from Chicago to Beech Grove. Last year Amtrak put $70 million dollars into the Indiana economy in wages and supply purchases. The long-term viability of the Beech Grove shops correlates directly with the survival of this train.
- Although small in absolute numbers compared to auto use, Amtrak ridership in Indiana continues to increase even with service that is infrequent at inconvenient hours and that has unreliable departure and arrival times. Other states have shown significant increases when these factors are improved, which must be the goal for the Hoosier State Line.
- Other Midwest states are investing in passenger rail and have aggressively gone after federal funds to aid these efforts.
- In a ten year period most Midwest states invested tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in passenger rail while Indiana invested less than half a million.
- Out of $2.5 billion in federal funds awarded to Midwest states from 2009-2012, Indiana secured one grant of $72 million, less than three percent of funds that have recently come to the Midwest.
- Intercity passenger rail provides significant environmental benefits such as better fuel efficiency and air quality.
- If the State of Indiana fails to fund the Hoosier State Line, any opportunity to improve Indiana's passenger rail service also disappears. This decision is do-or-die. Future opportunities for securing federal passenger rail funding will go to those states that have invested in their systems. Fifteen states are required by federal legislation (2008 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act) to provide their share of financial support for lines less than 750 miles long by Oct. 1, 2013, or the service will be terminated. All except Indiana have either done so or indicated that intent. In its recently adopted two-year state budget, the Indiana General Assembly authorized INDOT to provide the funding, so the Governor will make this $3 million decision.