Monthly Archives: October 2010

Passenger Rail Service to Begin in 2015

On Monday, officials announced that Iowa and Illinois will receive $230 million to establish passenger rail service between Iowa City and Chicago. The Des Moines Register reports that the route – 219 miles long – should be completed by 2015 and that each train could accommodate 230 passengers. The total cost of the project is $310 million.


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Filed under Rail

New Fuel Efficiency Standards Proposed

The Chicago Tribune reports that the federal government is suggesting implementing fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Vehicles that may be impacted include semi-trailers, school buses, garbage trucks, and delivery vans. Under the proposal, these vehicles will have to get more miles per gallon than they do today.

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Filed under Environment, Street & Highway

Thumb Bands for Texters

The Cerro Gordo County Sheriff’s Department is handing out thumb bands to drivers caught texting while driving. While no tickets are being issued for violating the law for one year, deputies are handing out the thumb bands  imprinted with “Txtng kills.” The bands are meant to raise awareness regarding the dangers of texting while driving, according to the Des Moines Register.

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Filed under Street & Highway

Full Funding for Downtown Transit Facility

From the Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority:

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority’s new Transit Hub will receive a $10 million “TIGER II” grant from the Federal Department of Transportation, completing the $21 million funding package necessary to complete the LEED-certified project.

The news was announced today by Senator Tom Harkin, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations panel that funds transportation initiatives, and Congressman Leonard Boswell, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.  The official announcement of all the nationwide awards will be made Wednesday, October 20, including an announcement event in Des Moines.

“This is an unbelievably great day for DART riders,” Polk County Supervisor Angela Connolly, chair of the DART Commission. “We’ve been working to get this important project done for a very long time.  This means we can build the project from beginning to end, so it’ll be ready for customers to use as early as the fall of 2012.”

DART’s plan is to complete the blueprints by year’s end, bid the project out in early 2011 and break ground in the spring.  Construction is expected to take 18 to 20 months.

The new Transit Hub, south of Cherry Street between 6th Avenue and 7th Street, will replace the transit mall along Walnut Street, which was identified in the “What’s Next, Downtown?” plan for redevelopment. The Transit Hub will give DART customers better amenities and its location is ideally located adjacent to the rail line that may someday bring Amtrak passenger rail service back to Des Moines.

The project has been designed by substance Architecture of Des Moines for maximum sustainability and could receive as high as a Gold LEED rating. Green building elements include solar panels incorporated into the roof and geothermal wells to help power the facility.

The Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority is the public transportation provider that serves Polk County.  DART operates a family of transportation services that makes getting around the Greater Des Moines area easier and more convenient.

For more information about DART services, schedules, route changes, or directions to the nearest DART stop, visit or call 283.8100.

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Filed under Public Transportation

Road Rage in the U.S.

Do you experience hostile drivers in the greater Des Moines metropolitan area? If so, just be thankful that the area is not among the top ten U.S. cities where road rage is rampant, according to MSN.

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Filed under Street & Highway

Banning All Driver Phone Use in Autos?

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood asserts that drivers are distracted by mobile phones, whether talking on the phone (even using a hands-free device) or texting. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is beginning research into all driver distractions, according to Bloomberg.


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Filed under Congestion Management, Street & Highway

Barriers to be Installed Along Interstates

On Tuesday, the Iowa Transportation Commission approved the expenditure of $5.8 million to install cable barriers along 90 miles of interstate medians. The barriers will be installed during the next construction season. The barriers will be installed earlier than previously planned as a result of numerous fatal accidents.

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Filed under Congestion Management, Street & Highway