Iowa May Reject Fed HSR Funding

Sounding very much like the new OH and WI Republican governors, a key state Republican legislator wants to avoid the ongoing state subsidy for Iowa City to Chicago trains. At stake is $230 million in a Federal rail grant to build 110 mph trains.

Illinois and Iowa, under their prior governments (before the Nov. 4, 2010 elections) had requested $310 million from the Federal Railroad Administration for the project - FRA came through with $230 million. Iowa need only fund $10 million of the remainder - but they appear to be balking.

"The Republican-sponsored budget package would not provide any state money needed to establish and subsidize operations for the route, almost certainly forcing the Iowa Department of Transportation to return a federal grant of $81.4 million already awarded for the passenger train project.

Gov.-elect Terry Branstad (inauguration is Jan. 13) continues to study the feasibility of the Iowa City train project and hasn't made a decision yet on state funding, a Branstad spokesman said." [Planetizen noted that that he appeared to be an Amtrak supporter on Nov. 5: "Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad may very well utilize the $230 million award announced by D.O.T. on Oct. 28 for improved Amtrak service between Chicago and Iowa City as it was intended".]

However, Illinois remains committed to the project and would fund the line to the Quad Cities. It is unclear how much of the $230 million would be forfeited due to the two-state nature of the grant.

Thanks to Streetsblog San Francisco

Full Story: State Republican budget could halt proposed passenger trains


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