Category Archives: Rail

Online Public Meeting for Chicago to Omaha Passenger Rail Study

The Federal Railroad Administration, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), will analyze improvements to the regional intercity passenger rail service from Union Station in Chicago, through Iowa, to a terminal in Omaha.

The purpose of this study is to:

  • Evaluate potential route alternatives.
  • Evaluate levels of service and ridership.
  • Analyze environmental impacts.
  • Determine a preferred Chicago to Omaha pas¬≠senger rail route alternative.

Visit the online public meeting today!

Potential improvements to the passenger rail system from Chicago, through Iowa, to Omaha will help complete the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative’s vision for developing an improved and expanded passenger rail system in the Midwest. The study will be a major step in assessing the viability of a high-speed, regional passenger rail system for Iowa and the Midwest.

For more information, please visit the Study website at http://www.iowadot.gov/chicagotoomaha.

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Slide to the Train

Slides typically are not thought of as a mode of transportation. However, at the newly renovated railway station Overvecht in the Dutch city of Utrecht, a slide has been installed next to a stairway to allow travelers the opportunity to quickly reach the railway tracks. Officially called a ‘transfer accelerator,’ the slide has made the city more playful and has generated positive externalities in the disadvantaged area, according to Pop-Up City.

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A Report Card on Transportation Spending

On Wednesday, the Pew Center on the States and the Rockefeller Center released a new report, Measuring Transportation Investments: The Road to Results. The report examines how states account for billions of dollars annually spent on transportation and finds that most are not tracking how their investments are performing in six key areas. Iowa is one of eighteen states, along with Washington, D.C., that has a mixed report card.

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Filed under Bike-Ped, Public Transportation, Rail, Street & Highway

America’s Railroads Are Still A Century Behind

According to Fast Company, it took ten days and $40 – the equivalent of $800 today – to travel from New York to San Francisco on the Transcontinental Express in the 1800s. Rail service has not changed much since then, the company asserts. However, the Obama administration is pushing to change that with a $53 billion proposal to bring high speed rail to the masses.

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Midwest Bullet Train Network Would Cost $83.6 Billion

A study from the Midwest High Speed Rail Association and the Siemens Corporation estimates that a Midwest network of bullet trains – those that could travel at speeds of 220 miles per hour and higher – would cost $83.6 billion. However, the study finds that the benefits would far exceed those from a less expensive system that would only reach speeds up to 150 miles per hour. The Chicago Tribune notes that all of the plans for a Midwest high-speed rail network envision Chicago as the hub, with corridors to Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and Detroit/Cleveland. Travel times would be three hours at most.

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Study: HSR is Profitable

A new study released by the Florida Department of Transportation (DOT) finds that high speed rail (HSR) is profitable. The DOT study notes that the line running from Tampa to Orlando would have had a $10.2 million operating surplus in 2015, its first year of operation. In its tenth year,  reports the Miami Herald, the surplus would have increased to $28.6 million. However, as previously reported, the line will not become a reality.

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No HSR for Florida

After a state Supreme Court hearing, Florida will return $2.4 billion to the federal government for use on high speed rail (HSR) elsewhere. Following the ruling, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood stated, “I know that states across America are enthusiastic about receiving additional support to help bring America’s high speed rail network to life and deliver all its economic benefits to their citizens.” Meanwhile, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced a plan to spend $77 million to dredge the Miami port to boost international trade.

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Iowa City May Provide Funding for Passenger Rail

With the state government questioning the costs to operate passenger rail, the Iowa City City Council approved submitting a letter to the state stating that it would pursue local funding for the service. Operating costs for the line, slated to run from Chicago to Iowa City, could be locally funded by communities, the University of Iowa, or a tax-increment financing district, according to Eastern Iowa Government.

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Florida Governor Rejects HSR Funding

On Wednesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funding for the construction of a high speed rail (HSR) line connecting Tampa and Orlando, according to the Miami Herald. Still, state legislators are exploring options to circumvent the governor’s decision; cities along the line could receive the money, or the private sector could be engaged.

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