The Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers met this weekend and heard about several studies on rail passenger service in Iowa that’re in the works. Association spokesperson, Eliot Keller, says updated information on the study of passenger service from Chicago to Iowa City indicates it will be completed in another month. Keller says the Iowa City proposal is an extension of another study.
Keller says the Illinois Department of Transportation was asked by Amtrack to study the feasibility of a route from Chicago to the Quad Cities, and the Iowa Department of Transportation asked that they look at the route all the way to Iowa City. That study should be done by the end of November. Keller says the study is important because it puts numbers to the idea. He says the study will outline the capital costs, annual operating support that’s needed, anticipated ridership, so everyone will know what it will take to make the route a reality.
Keller says it’s exciting to see the talk turn into action and a hard look at the various passenger train proposals. Keller says another aspect that’s exciting, is that the Iowa DOT has requested another study of service from Iowa City to Des Moines. Keller says many of these issues will be discussed again Tuesday at the DOT’s meeting in Clinton.
Keller says the transportation commission is holding a public input meeting where it will hear from people from Dubuque, the Quad Cities, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines about the Amtrack service as well as a proposed commuter rail service between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City.
A committee has been working on a light rail service that would link Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Amana with excursion passenger train and eventual commuter train service. More than 2,000 passengers rode a demonstration train on the Cedar Rapids to Iowa City portion of the route in August.