Rail advocates hopeful for future of Chicago-to-Omaha system

Feb 17, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Rail advocates still hope for a passenger train resurgence that would link Chicago to Iowa City, Des Moines and Omaha, but questions about the need for government subsidies continue to bog down efforts.

Supporters of enhanced passenger service spoke out last week at the Iowa Statehouse. They argued for plans to make the infrastructure improvements needed to start passenger service between Chicago and Iowa City, with hopes of later extending trains to Des Moines and Omaha.

Illinois approved $45 million to pay for passenger service to Moline, Ill., but Gov. Terry Branstad has remained skeptical about committing Iowa to ongoing expenses.

Without a push to expand passenger rail into Iowa, Nebraska Department of Roads spokeswoman Mary Jo Oie says there likely wouldn't be serious talk about an extension into Omaha.

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