Amtrak Bill could speed up new rail lines - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Amtrak Bill could speed up new rail lines

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Washington, D.C. (KWWL) -- A new railroad bill -- which could bring new tourism to eastern Iowa -- is now law.

President Bush signed the Amtrak bill giving grants to open more passenger rail service. Iowa democrat Bruce Braley originally co-sponsored the bill. Proposed rail lines from Dubuque to Chicago and the Quad Cities to Chicago are eligible to apply.

Here is the release from Bruce Braley's office:

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) praised President Bush's signing of the Amtrak Bill, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (HR 2095), into law yesterday afternoon. Braley is an original cosponsor of the Amtrak Bill and he served as a conferee to help craft the final version of the Amtrak Bill.

"This bill is the first step to make affordable, efficient passenger rail service available for more Iowans, and I'm happy this bill is now law," Braley said. "This bill strongly supports Iowa's passenger rail needs, and it will help make passenger rail service between Dubuque and Chicago and the Quad Cities and Chicago a reality."

The Amtrak bill, which is now law, includes language to create a new $1.9 billion 'State Capital Grant Program,' to award federal grants to states for the construction of new passenger rail service between US cities. Proposed passenger rail service between Chicago and the Quad Cities and Chicago and Dubuque are eligible to apply for funding under this program.

Two additional Braley provisions became law as part of the final Amtrak bill, including a provision from Braley's 'Back on Track Act' to lengthen railroad loan repayment terms from 25-years to 35-years and Braley's provision to study the use of biolubricants as an alternative to petroleum-based lubricants in freight and passenger rail service.

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