Map of passenger rail route.

Map of passenger rail route.

The Iowa and Illinois departments of transportation have won a $230-million award from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for passenger rail service from Chicago to Iowa City via the Quad Cities.

The director of the Iowa D.O.T.’s Office of Rail Transportation, Tammy Nicholson, says the money will pay for the infrastructure to get the route going.

Nicholson says the federal funding is for 80% of the cost with a 20% state match, and will purchase equipment for two round trips a day between Chicago and Iowa City. She says it will also provide funding to complete the environmental studies, and the engineering studies, as well as construction of projects. The construction includes the stations along the line that need to be built in Geneseo and Moline, Illinois and Iowa City.

Nicholson says the plan is to have the service running by 2015. She says the projected ridership in 2015 is 246,800 people. Nicholson says the state money has already been appropriated for the route. Nicholson says the legislature appropriated $3-million dollars in 2010, $2-million for 2011, and made a commitment for $6.5 million in 2012 and then up to $20-million over four years to meet the 20% match.

Trains will run along the 219-mile route at speeds up to a maximum of 79-miles an hour.

See more information on the rail route here: Rail fact sheet PDF