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Wisconsin Gov. Evers proposes funds to expand Milwaukee-Chicago Amtrak route


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has proposed $45 million in his state budget to expand Amtrak service between Milwaukee and Chicago on the railroad's Hiawatha route.

The state funds would be used to match federal grants to complete necessary road improvements that are needed before service could be increased from the current seven round trips daily to 10 round trips daily, Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) reported late last week.

The project's total cost is approximately $195 million.

In February, Wisconsin was awarded a $5 million federal grant under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program to build a second platform serving Amtrak riders at the Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.

Improvements at the airport are among eight projects that need to be completed in order to increase the Milwaukee-Chicago Amtrak trips, according to the WPR report, citing Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson.

Additional CRISI funds will be available in the next few months, and Thompson believes the department stands a good chance of being awarded more funds.

The Hiawatha line served 844,396 riders last year, up 1.8 percent from 2017's ridership level, according to Amtrak.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/12/2019