Passenger rail between Iowa City and Chicago closer to reality - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Passenger rail between Iowa City and Chicago closer to reality


IOWA CITY (KWWL) - As the possibility of a light rail passenger train connecting Iowa City and Chicago moves closer to reality, we asked some travelers if they would stand in line for a ticket.

Linda Dewild of Coralville says you can count her in. "I think i would like it better, because with the airline it's indefinite with weather, and I'm not a big fan of flying."

The same goes for Benjamin Odumah. "You have to wait to check in [at the airport], but you don't have to do that when you take the train."

For Kevin McMahon, it would all depend on travel time and ticket cost. "You know, $1,500 or $2,000 for the whole family to go on a trip, and if it's half the cost to go on a train, it just really comes down to time and when I need to be there."

Travel time is one factor in which many say they'll still prefer air travel. The proposed train would reach speeds between 60 and 80 miles per hour, and take around 5 hours to reach Chicago. A plane can make that distance in a fraction of the time. But that aside, Nancy Quellhorst of the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce says it would mean money for Eastern Iowa.

"It would certainly be a great benefit in terms of tourism, but probably more important is the creation of jobs."

In the meantime, she says the project's biggest hurdle is funding. "We're in tough times, but at the same time, this is an investment."

One concern that has been raised about the project is where the train's passengers would park in the cramped downtown Iowa City area. But Quellhorst expects that would be one of the first issues to be addressed.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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