The Iowa Department of Transportation is narrowing down plans for a new high-speed passenger railway linking Chicago and Omaha. A two-million dollar study looks at possible routes across Iowa, with stops in the Quad Cities, Iowa City and Des Moines.

The D.O.T.’s Amanda Martin says the project is a long way from completion and it’s uncertain where the money will originate. “We do have the funding in place for the study,” Martin says. “We’re just in the study mode right now and that was the two-million dollars I mentioned earlier.”

One-million of that is coming from Iowa, with another million matched by the federal government. Martin says since the chosen route goes through populated areas and uses already-laid track, it will be affordable and profitable. Martin says this train would not be like the one Amtrak runs through the southern part of the state.

“The service is very different from the service we are studying now,” she says. “The service we’re studying now is inner city passenger rail service, typically between two urban areas.”

She says this train would run a lot more often and go much faster, making it a viable alternative to driving. The project is still in its infancy, but the D.O.T. is hosting public forums on-line and in person.

In-person meetings are planned in Des Moines Wednesday and in Council Bluffs on Thursday.

Learn more at: