The Scoping Phase of the Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study is now complete. More information will be available soon. Please sign up for the mailing list to receive information as soon as it becomes available.
Your input will help the Iowa Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration understand your priorities, concerns and goals for for the reestablishment of intercity passenger rail service from Chicago, Illinois, through Iowa, to Omaha, Nebraska.
The potential for improved intercity passenger rail service between Chicago and Omaha has been outlined in the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative. Improvements could include greater frequency, greater reliability and shorter travel times. Maximum ridership and revenue will be analyzed at speeds of 79, 90, and 110 miles per hour, with up to 5 round trips per day.
Please use the arrows located on either side of the screen to navigate through this meeting.
Comments will be accepted until April 16, 2012. You may leave a comment on the study by clicking the Comment Form button below. Please be sure to leave your email to be added to the mailing list. You may begin typing your comment at any time and add to it during your entire session in the open house.
The purpose of the study is to meet current and future travel needs between Chicago and Omaha through significant improvements to the level and quality of passenger rail service. This study will:
The planning activities include conducting a route alternatives analysis, developing a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, and completing a Service Development Plan and conceptual engineering for passenger rail improvements. The Tier 1 EIS will analyze corridor-level impacts along the route alternatives in the study area. The approved route alternative would then be broken down into segments, and Tier 2 National Environmental Policy Act documents would then prepared for each segment. The study will determine a preferred route alternative or combination of route alternatives and will identify the Tier 2 study segments.
As indicated in the timeline, this is the first opportunity for you to participate in the study. The public will have future opportunities to participate and provide comment on the environmental process by attending additional online meetings and public open houses held in Iowa and Illinois.
Please be sure to submit your email address to receive ongoing updates on the study and additional opportunities to participate by clicking the Comment Form button below.
The Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System would expand on the Midwest Regional Rail System by providing high-speed passenger rail transportation to help meet future travel demands between Chicago and Omaha.
Improved passenger rail service would provide an alternative to automobile, bus, and air travel by:
Improved passenger rail service is needed due to increasing travel demand resulting from population growth and changing demographics between Chicago and Omaha as well as the need for competitive and attractive modes of travel. Similar improvements to Midwest Regional Passenger Rail Systems are listed in the exhibit to the left. More information on these, and other projects, can be found at Connect the Midwest.
The full Draft Purpose and Need Statement for this study is available to download here; we encourage your comments on this document.
Five previously established passenger-train routes and potential combinations of routes traversing the Chicago to Omaha corridor will be considered during this study. Each route is approximately 500 miles long. In Illinois, the study area runs generally west from Chicago Union Station, which is the hub for the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, to the Mississippi River and, depending on the route, is a distance of between 150 and 250 miles. In Iowa, the study area runs west from the Mississippi River across the entire state to the Missouri River, a distance of approximately 300 miles. In Nebraska, the study area terminates in Omaha, which is located at the Missouri River, the eastern border of the state. A general location for the terminal in Omaha will be identified as a part of this study.
This study will identify a preferred route alternative or combination of the route alternatives highlighted on this map. The rail operator for each previously established passenger-train route and the major cities along the route are listed in the chart. The colors correspond to the colors of the route alternatives in the map.
Click on the map to view detailed route alternatives. Click here for a PDF map.
This study will identify a preferred route alternative. As indicated in the chart, four broad criteria will be used to determine the most appropriate passenger rail route from Union Station in Chicago, through Iowa, to Omaha.
Route alternatives will be screened using these criteria to eliminate alternatives that are not feasible or do not meet the purpose of and need for the proposed passenger rail service. The results of this screening process will be presented at the next open house meeting. The criteria are listed in the exhibit to the left.
Please be sure to submit your email address to receive ongoing updates on study information and additional opportunities to participate by clicking the Comment Form button below.
The project is scheduled to last approximately 18 months. The next step is to review route alternatives based on your input on the screening criteria.
Iowa DOT and the Federal Railroad Administration will host a series of online open house meetings during this study to involve the public in the route alternative selection process. Information gathered at each open house meeting will be used to find the best possible route alternative or combination of route alternatives that will be evaluated in Tier 2 NEPA documents.
You may leave a comment on the study by clicking the Comment Form button below. Please be sure to leave your email or mailing address if you require a response.
Comments provided during the scoping process will be used to identify issues that will be evaluated for the Draft Tier 1 EIS. Comments will be accepted until April 16, 2012. The next public meeting is anticipated in spring 2012.
We want to hear from you!
Please don't forget to submit your comment before you leave the site!