LAFAYETTE – West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis and Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski happened to be in the same room Thursday morning when messages started flashing about what was in the proposed budget Gov. Eric Holcomb was sending to the Indiana General Assembly.
Or more notably, what wasn’t in the governor’s recommended $33.8 billion spending plan. Holcomb’s budget indicated that the governor was ready to give up on the Hoosier State passenger rail service the state and communities along the Indianapolis-to-Chicago route teamed up to save in 2015.
“We were like, ‘What the …’” Dennis said. “I’d say we didn’t see this one coming.”
Dennis said it wasn’t long before a note came from Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton and later a meeting with Tippecanoe County Commissioner Tom Murtaugh, all part of a coalition of cities that have been chipping in roughly a combined $500,000 annually for the past five years to keep the four-day-a-week service.
“We all agreed, we might have our work cut out for us,” Dennis said. “We need to sit down and figure out what our next step is.”