Amtrak ridership record raises hope for new Iowa routes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Amtrak ridership record raises hope for new Iowa routes

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Ridership on Amtrak in Iowa rose 3 percent to set a ridership record with more than 64,000 passengers getting on and off the train at Iowa's six stations.

The numbers for the year ending Sept. 30 were the highest since Amtrak starting serving the state in 1971.

The increase is spurring optimism about a possible expansion of passenger rail service in Iowa, but state officials say the economic downturn could dampen that enthusiasm and limit how much state tax money is available to subsidize new Amtrak routes in Iowa.

Nationwide, 28.7 million people rode Amtrak, the sixth straight year of record ridership.

Marc Magliari, an Amtrak spokesman in Chicago, says higher gas prices are the biggest reason for the increased ridership.

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