TRANSIT: Federal Railroad Administration to evaluate Midwest rail service

Interstate passenger rail will be focus of investigation

Public Transportation News August 18, 2015
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The Federal Railroad Administration has announced its intention to look into how Amtrak could better serve the Midwest with interstate passenger rail transit. Leaders in Ohio have expressed optimism that this investigation could take Cincinnati one step closer toward daily rail service to Chicago.
 
The announcement sent to Congressional leaders last week stipulated the FRA’s intent to spend nearly $3 million dollars on a planning initiative to bolster passenger rail service in the Midwest and Southeast regions. Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana will all have a stake in that plan, along with 10 other states.
 
A excerpt of the announcement reads:
 
The Federal Railroad Administration is utilizing authority provided under Section 192 of the FY 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 113-76) to retain $2,780,651 in funding made available to the agency to facilitate multi-state rail planning. Due to the complexities in coordinating among multiple states and other stakeholders, FRA is retaining these funds and leading the planning effort at the Federal level, rather than awarding funds to entities through a grant or cooperative agreement.
 
In Ohio, the FRA’s announcement comes in the wake of Amtrak’s performance improvement plan for its Cardinal line, which runs through Cincinnati in a line from Chicago to New York. Currently, the Cardinal line stops at Union Terminal three times each week, between midnight and 3 a.m. The trip to Chicago takes about 7 hours. The hope is to include Cincinnati in Amtrak daily service regime.

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