Supporters of an Iowa City to Chicago Amtrak route say it could become a reality in two to three years. Rebecca Neades is spearheading the effort for the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce.
Neads says, "We have a very good shot at passenger rail from Iowa City to Chicago. We have all the right people in Washington right now looking at passenger rail and making that a priority. We have our feasibility study that’s done. It looks very very promising."
She says they believe about 187,000 people would ride the train every year. Neads says the train is a very appealing option. "It’s a quick turnaround. It’s only a five hour ride. The cost is very inexpensive, they’re keeping it down at around 42 dollars and it’s a very safe, economical, and environmentally friendly way to travel," Neads says.
She says the federal government could pay most of the more than fifty million dollar cost for the route because the midwest is largely underserved, and Illinois and Iowa are working together on the project. Neads says long-term plans include extending the passenger rail line from Iowa City to Des Moines and then to Omaha.