The Iowa Department of Transportation is in the midst of an assessment of the rail lines in the state. D-O-T systems planner Stuart Anderson is overseeing the project. He says the purpose is to look at the needs of the system and allow the department to focus their investments in rail lines where they’e most needed.Anderson says there are four levels of rail lines: those with nationwide importance, those with state to state importance, those with regional significance, and those with state significance. He says the shape of the rail lines varies.He says the condition of the lines depends on their type, with the nationwide lines getting the most attention. Anderson says the state doesn’t own the rail lines, but does help the owners keep them up because of their significance to the state’s economy. He says there’s very limited state or federal funding programs, with the one state program involving the building of spur lines for economic development. Anderson says theres more work to do before the D-O-T has a rail plan ready for the Transportation Commission.He says they’ll go out and visit with the rail shippers and owners and then will develop a plan that’ll be part of the overall state transportation plan. Anderson says the discussion has included rail passenger service and the need to support such efforts.
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