MO Statehouse
8:58 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

MoDOT wants input on $1.3 billion rail plan

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) wants public input on a $1.3 billion plan for improving and expanding rail service across the state.

The 20-year plan covers both passenger and freight service.   Passenger service recommendations include more round trips between St. Louis and Kansas City and pursuing new passenger routes across Missouri.  Those could include new Amtrak routes from St. Louis to Springfield, Kansas City to Springfield, Hannibal to Quincy, Illinois, and Kansas City to Omaha, with a stop in St. Joseph.

Recommendations for freight lines include preserving and expanding freight rails, spurs and sidings, and expanding freight rail access at river ports and to new industries.  MoDOT’s Kristi Jamison admits that finding the necessary funds won’t be easy.

“There’s a long ways to go," Jamison said.  "A lot of this, just like on the highway side, it puts a plan out there and it allows us to go for something."

Most of the State Rail Plan would likely be paid for by federal grants, but it could also involve state and local matching funds and public-private partnerships.  Jamison says the plan would help boost the state’s economy.

“Just by maintaining rail as it is today, we preserve a thousand jobs, almost $2 billion in economic output, and another $643 million in personal income," Jamison said.  "Over the next 20 years, those benefits range up to more than $2 billion for Missouri.”

Jamison says they’ll submit the plan to the Federal Railroad Administration, which will have final say.  MoDOT has been gathering public comments at meetings across the state this month – two more are scheduled in Poplar Bluff on April 25th and in Kirkwood on April 26th.  Comments can also be emailed to:

staterailplan@modot.mo.gov.