Thursday, March 12, 2009

Passenger Rails Service from Chicago to Iowa City Gaining Steam

An ICE 3 high-speed train on the Ingolstadt-Mu...Image via Wikipedia

Passenger rail service from Chicago to Iowa City is gaining steam.

From the Gazette...
"Within the next couple of years it's going to be a sure thing," said Dick Welch of Swisher, longtime passenger rail advocate and Iowa's representative to the National Association of Railroad Passengers. "From a national standpoint, I think things are really looking up for passenger rail. Obama and his folks are very pro-rail."

Mike Tramontina, director of the state Department of Transportation, will go even further.

"I'd be willing to bet you a lunch that in five years we're going to be riding passenger rail through Iowa City to Des Moines," Tramontina said. "It's a very real possibility."

The prospect of expanded passenger rail service is fueled by $8 billion for passenger rail included in the $787 billion federal economic stimulus package. Along with $1.9 billion for new intercity routes in the regular Amtrak budget passed last fall, that's moved a proposed Amtrak route between Iowa City, the Quad Cities and Chicago from something-nice-to-have-someday to attainable reality.
There is a meeting about passenger rail today at 4:30 in Iowa City. It is being held by the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce at 325 E. Washington St.
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