Image via WikipediaPassenger 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."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.
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.