Dubuque passenger rail moves forward - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque passenger rail moves forward

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A plan for passenger rail from Dubuque to Chicago continued rolling Monday. Bruce Braley joined forces with Congressman Don Manzullo, requesting grant money from $8-billion Recovery Act, given for intercity rail.

The key is to get everyone on board. Now that Braley and Manzullo have joined forces they are working on getting officials in Rockford on requesting the grant money. Although the proposal has been on track for several years now, people are still excited to reintroduce trains into public transit.

As 13-year old Jacob Rennhack eats lunch in Depot Cafe at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, he remembers riding when he was 2 years old.

'I think we road in the caboose of it and that's all we did. It was a little passenger one that we just road a little bit," said Rennhack.

Of course he only remembers it because his parents told him. But Rennhack isn't alone. Many people his age have never ridden on a train.

"Passenger rail has a tremendous opportunity to reintroduce trailers to a whole new generation of people," said Jerry Enzler, President of the Dubuque Historical Society.

Enzler remembers taking a train to Dubuque the first time he visited.

"Since then I haven't been able to take a train into Dubuque. And young people today haven't had that experience unless they're traveled in Europe or maybe to bigger cities," said Enzler.

Monday Congressman Bruce Braley signed a letter requesting grant money from the $8 billion passenger rail fund. A part of the economic stimulus packaged signed by Obama.

"We're asking Secretary of Transportation to consider this area to be one of the recipients of that inner city passenger rail grant, that's the next step in making this project a reality," said Braley.

A reality that could reintroduce riding a train to people like Rennhack. Braley says at this point it's all a matter of getting the funds for the project. He says now more than ever you should get involved and encourage cities like Rockford to jump on the train too.

Unfortunately, he wasn't able to set a date for completion. The funding has to come first.

The passenger rail is a part of Dubuque's Envision 2010 project - it includes goals and projects the city hopes to complete by 2010.

You can get involved in the ride the rail campaign. Visit Www.Envision2010.Org/ridetherail

Online reporter: Lauren Squires

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