Iowa DOT: Iowa City route best for Chicago-Omaha passenger rail

Omaha-to-Chicago route could draw up to 935,000 riders annually

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April 3, 2014 | 5:31 pm

The Iowa Interstate Railroad's route across the state is the one best suited for future passenger rail service between Chicago and Omaha, a preliminary study has determined.

"The preliminary  findings have been that (Iowa Interstate) is the route we want to move into," said Amanda Martin, policy coordinator for the Iowa Department of Transportation's rail office.

Martin participated in an online news conference Monday morning, announcing early results of the study of the proposed service building on a revived Chicago-Moline route Illinois is developing for planned launch in late 2014. Backers hope that service would be extended to Iowa City, but Gov. Terry Branstad and legislative Republicans have so far been unwilling to appropriate the state's $3 million annual operating subsidy.

The initial review of the potential for Omaha service found the Iowa Interstate route, which also serves Des Moines, would draw up to 935,000 riders a year aboard five daily trains in each direction.

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