The Iowa DOT wants to hear from metro area residents about the Chicago-to-Omaha rail study.
A public meeting is scheduled Thursday in Council Bluffs about the passenger rail study. The combination state-federal project seeks to identify a “reasonable and feasible” high-speed passenger rail route between Chicago and Omaha. The preferred alternative route travels through the Quad Cities, Iowa City, and Des Moines, following I-80.
Mark Hemphill, director of railroad consulting services for Omaha-based HDR, says the route has to meet specific criteria.“It has to be a passenger service that is competitive and attractive to travelers, it has to have a convenient travel time, it can’t be something that runs in the middle of the night, that’s inconvenient. It has to have frequency of service, that passengers feel that they can use it viably, they don’t have to schedule around it weeks in advance or days in advance.”
After the public meetings are complete, environmental impact and cost analysis studies will be done. A decision on the high-speed rail system could be made next year.
More information on the Chicago to Omaha rail study is available at www.iowadot.gov/chicagotoomaha. Thursday’s meeting begins at 4pm at the Mid-America Center.