Iowa City to Chicago rail service on-track - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City to Chicago rail service on-track

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - The Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce says rail service between Iowa City and Chicago is edging closer to reality.

In May, Iowa lawmakers approved $3 million for the project. The total cost to get it on-track is about $55 million. The "Chicago Flyer" initiative hopes to get a portion of $8 billion in federal rail stimulus money to help cover the difference.

Rebecca Neades with the ICACC, says the train would offer 2 round trips per day. A ticket for the 79-mile per hour ride would cost about $42 one-way.

"Congressman Bruce Braley, Congressman Dave Loebsack, and Congressman Leonard Boswell have all joined together and requested a Midwest High-Speed Rail Summit. And they want to talk about our plan for this area."

Team efforts like this are just one part of meeting guidelines to receive federal funding for the project. If Iowa were to get that money now, it could see rail service within a few years, which Bob Elliott is happy to hear.

"As a young person, I grew up in Chicago, and my mother's parents lived on a farm in Iowa, and I rode the rocket between Chicago and Iowa several times," Elliott said. "Fying is just a pain in the neck anymore. Traveling on a railroad, you get to see where you're going. It's a win-win situation for me, with the exception of money. Everything takes money."

But Iowa will be competing with other states for that federal money, and Ron Farber worries it will be overlooked.

"They think we're all farmers," Farber told us. "We in Iowa City, I truly believe this is the Venice of the Midwest."

Neades wants Iowans to write their lawmakers, including Governor Chet Culver, and encourage them to keep Iowa's rail projects on-track.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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