The state is giving $500,000 from the I-JOBS program to the Iowa Department of Transportation to work on expanding passenger rail service in the state. D.O.T. spokesperson, Dena Gray-Fisher says the money will help with the background work needed to apply for federal rail funds.
She says Iowa is joining Illinois to apply for federal stimulus money for passenger rail expansion and that requires a lot of pre-application work, such as engineering and environmental studies. Gray-Fisher says the 500-thousand dollars will help with the application work. Gray-Fisher says the D.O.T. has begun the work on expanding the rail service and this money will help keep it moving ahead.
Gray-Fisher says the routes that feasibility studies have already been completed on are one from Chicago to Dubuque, to the Quad Cities, and then on to Iowa City. Gray-Fisher says the information from the state will be sent in later this year.
Gray-Fisher says the pre-applications are due to the federal government by this fall and the federal government will then review the applications from all states. "Iowa I think is in a very good position, I think we’re going to be very competitive," Gray-Fisher says.
The I-JOBS program was created by the governor to invest $830-million in the state to help create or retain jobs.