The Iowa Department of Transportation is hosting an on-line open house meeting as part of a study of passenger rail service. Amanda Martin of the D.O.T. says the meeting begins today.

Martin says the study will consist of five previously established passenger rail routes from Chicago, through Iowa to Omaha. “Each route is approximately 500 miles long, and as part of the midwest regional rail initiative that was the corridor that was established as a route for future study and future passenger rail service,” Martin says.

The study is one of the steps in moving ahead to establish a new route. “It’s looking at the alternative routes and determining what route is most feasible based on the purpose and need of the route,” Martin says. “So it’s a tier one service level environmental impact statement is what we will end up with.”

You can submit comments on the routes during the on-line meeting. “People who have concerns about particular routes…or if they are supporting particular routes since it is looking at several. If there are concerns about any sort of impacts their state might be affected by if the route were to go through their community, those sorts of things,” Martin says.

The on-line format provides lots of information for people who’re interested. “There is a video that will be on the website that they can review and it’ll talk about the project and will give more details about what we are doing, and there will be resources within the website, maps and information that will help the user understand the study a little bit better, and what sort of comments we are looking for,” Martin said.

Go to: to participate in the meeting.