Despite a lot of talk and study lately, Mark Dobson, executive director of the Warsaw Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce and board member of North East Indiana Passenger Rail Association and the Indiana High Speed Rail Association, told the Warsaw Common Council Monday night that Indiana politicians are disinterested in paying for the service.
OrthoWorx most recently provided an in-depth study delving into the economical impact such as what rail service could offer for those companies like Depuy, Zimmer, Biomet and Othy. Dobson referred to the OrthoWorx study and cited those companies words that they’ll save hundreds of thousands of dollars in connectivity problems. In short, if Warsaw had the high speed passenger rail service, surgeons and other necessary visitors would save in travel times to major airports where international flights are available.
Overall, the interviews as part of the Orthoworx study revealed four major points. The first was the importance of connectivity to airports and transportation hubs for business travel for employees and visiting partners and clients. Secondly, access to regional transportation was necessary for the training of employees in the industry. Third, the industry executives were increasingly concerned with their ability to retain and recruit talent, indicating that increased transportation options may add to the available labor pool. Finally, businesses were optimistic about the possibility of local redevelopment if Warsaw had HSR service.
But Dobson told the Warsaw Common Council that problems with Chicago’s rail system study on feasibility from Chicago to Detroit could take up to 24 months to complete, then Chicago has to sink approximately $3 billion in improvements and upgrades which means it could be another 15 years before it’s complete. He also said Indiana has not supported the high rail passenger trains to date, which is why OrthoWorx is putting forth the business impact study.
To take part in the Indiana study, which is taking place in Fort Wayne where one of four stops would be made, the city was asked to donate to the study. Instead, Mayor Joe Thallemer asked the council to simply review a lot of information Dobson provided and bring their thoughts and ideas to the next meeting when an approximate $5,000 donation could be made.
The passenger rail service Dobson described said the plan is to have stops and pick-up areas in Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Valparaiso and Gary before reaching its destination in Chicago to the west and Cleveland, Ohio, to the east.
Council woman Diane Quance said that since the Fort Wayne study will begin taking place soon, she wondered how valid the findings would be by the time Chicago’s plan is completed in up to 15 years.
Thallemer said he only asked Dobson to prevent some information about the rail services to the city council. He asked that no action be taken on the request to donate for the study, but to rather have the council members read the reports Dobson provided and think about a donation for the study.
In a final order of business, the council urged the public to take part in the city’s surveys regarding the Walk-Bike trails and downtown parking issues. There are currently two surveys the city is asking people to take part in. Those surveys can be found as follows.
For the Ride-Walk survey, CLICK HERE.
For the parking survey, CLICK HERE.