Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.
Amtrak could go to Quad Cities, Dubuque by 2011
The Des Moines Register reports today that Amtrak passenger rail connections from Chicago to the Quad Cities and Dubuque appear “likely within two years.” A feasibility study about extending the Quad Cities line through Des Moines, which the Register says was expected to happen this year, has been delayed until at least next year.
Amtrak had been expected to complete a feasibility study sometime this year for twice-daily train service between Des Moines and Chicago. But the railroad has been deluged with requests for studies elsewhere in the wake of a national push to expand passenger train service, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said in Chicago.
As a result, Amtrak won’t finish the Des Moines study until money issues are resolved to ensure service between Chicago and Iowa City, Magliari said. An Amtrak report in 2008 suggested an Iowa City passenger train could start operating if about $32 million could be obtained to upgrade Iowa tracks and signals.
“It makes sense for us to say, “Let’s get the train to Iowa City, and then we will work on studying the extension” to Des Moines, Magliari said. “If you do the study greatly in advance of obtaining the funding, the information in the study becomes outdated.”
Des Moines has not had regular passenger train service from Chicago since 1970.
Gov. Chet Culver, who travels to Chicago by train next week for a meeting about expanding high-speed passenger rail throughout the Midwest, has spoken often about the potential of passenger rail to revitalize Iowa’s economy.