This month, the Iowa Department of Transporation is initiating its viability study of a possible Chicago to Omaha passenger rail route that could travel through Iowa City along the way.
From the department release:
The Federal Railroad Administration, in cooperation with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), is kicking off the Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study. The Iowa DOT will host an online, self-directed, open house meeting beginning Feb. 13, 2012, available at www.iowadot.gov/chicagotoomaha.
According to the department's website, one of the purposes of the study, which the public is welcome to provide input on, is to examine the value of five different routes for the project in order to "determine a preferred Chicago to Omaha passenger rail route alternative."
One of those routes, shown in blue on the attached PDF, goes from Chicago to Moline through Iowa City and Des Moines to Omaha.
The rail project, favored by Iowa City government and business leaders, has run into a snag as the Governor and House Republicans have voiced skepticism about the value of spending money on a rail route, even with federal money being offered to complete the job.