The following information is being distributed by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) in partnership with Amtrak. The Iowa DOT is presently in the process of preparing an application for additional federal funds to assist in bringing Amtrak intercity passenger rail service to the state on routes radiating from Chicago.
Communities revving up for new passenger rail service
receive guidance from Amtrak on station development
Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin leaders meet with Amtrak experts
CHICAGO – July 20, 2010 – Amtrak is offering its expert guidance on station development to communities in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin where new state-supported Amtrak service is planned to begin in the next three years. As a part of its Great American Stations Project, Amtrak is hosting local and state leaders in a “Civic Conversation” with a special focus on the development of stations on three planned routes from: (1) Chicago to Dubuque, Iowa, via Rockford, Ill.; (2) Chicago to Iowa City, Iowa, via the Quad Cities; and (3) Chicago to Madison, Wisc., via Milwaukee.
The Sixth Civic Conversation event is being held at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, 350 West Mart Center Drive in Chicago, Ill., July 21-22.
Some of these communities have not had passenger rail service since the early-mid 1970s, while others were last served in 1981. Some of their former passenger rail stations still stand, but many other stations were converted to other uses or have been demolished.
During the meeting on Thursday, July 22, Amtrak will discuss with invitees real estate and railroad relationship issues, station design and staffing matters, and provide other technical expertise, including understanding how to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, representatives from both large and small communities will explain how they successfully shepherded their station projects through the design, funding and construction phases.
Helping communities understand station development issues is essential since Amtrak does not own the majority of the stations it serves. Of the 529 stops on Amtrak’s current schedule, nearly 33 percent of stations are owned by cities, 27 percent by the freight or host railroads over whose tracks Amtrak trains travel, and 27 percent by Amtrak (primarily on the largely Amtrak-owned Northeast Corridor). Private parties own another 8 percent, and the remaining 5 percent are owned by other entities, such as port authorities, commuter railroads or transit agencies.
The www.greatamericanstations.com Web site is designed to build on the Civic Conversations held around the country. It enables an exchange of information and provides a point of initial contact to develop partnerships in an initiative to renovate and revitalize stations. The Web site spotlights the success of station projects and includes descriptions of stations along the routes in the 46-state Amtrak network.
Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin have plans to use state and/or federal funds to begin new service to be operated by Amtrak. Illinois and Wisconsin have been Amtrak partners since 1971 and 1989, respectively, and Iowa could become the 16th state to have Amtrak state-supported intercity passenger rail service.
Attendees at the Civic Conversation in Chicago will be welcomed by Thomas Carper, Amtrak board chairman, and Joseph McHugh, Amtrak vice president, government affairs and corporate communications. Amtrak has hosted similar meetings in the past three years in Denver, Pittsburgh, Albuquerque, Savannah and San Antonio.
As the nation’s intercity passenger rail operator, Amtrak connects America in safer, greener and healthier ways. Last fiscal year (FY 2009), the railroad carried 27.2 million passengers, making it the second-best year in the company’s history. With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces, Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day — at speeds up to 150 mph — to more than 500 destinations. Amtrak also is the partner of choice for state-supported corridor services in 15 states and for several commuter rail agencies. Visit www.Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information.
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A complete list of individuals participating in this invitation-only event is available upon request from Amtrak’s Media Relations. Reporters wishing to attend the Civic Conversation in Chicago or want more information about the scheduled activities may contact Marc Magliari, Amtrak media relations manager, at 312-880-5390.