As the Quad Cities Chamber prepares for the upcoming legislative session, passenger rail service remains a top priority, and we are working very closely with state and federal officials, local partners, and Iowa Interstate Rail to ensure the project keeps moving.
We often receive questions from constituents on the details of this project, so we took a moment to share some answers to FAQ’s from our Director of Government Affairs, Henry Marquard.
Is passenger rail service really going to happen?
We are very confident of passenger rail service between the Quad Cities and Chicago. Both federal and state funding remains in place, updates to the design and environmental work are currently under way, and negotiations between IDOT and Iowa Interstate Rail for a final agreement are progressing.
When is it going to happen?
We should have a very good idea of the timeline in spring, when the environmental and design updates are complete.
How will the funding deadline impact the project?
The Federal Rail Administration granted an extension until June 30, 2018. At that point, a final extension will be done based on the timeline established by the environmental and design updates. As far as state funding, the appropriation secured in the 2016 Stopgap budget remains in place.
What about rail service into Iowa?
We are working with Iowa DOT, to ensure a bus connection between Moline and Iowa City that honors the original intention of connecting to Iowa City. Expanding rail service west to Iowa City, Des Moines, and Omaha remains a goal of the Chamber, and we are continuing to engage Iowa elected officials.