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MoDOT seeks public input on state rail plan


This month, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is holding a series of public meetings to solicit opinions on a new state rail plan, which is being drafted to provide a 20-year framework for passenger- and freight-rail development.

Draft recommendations include maximizing the economic benefits of freight rail in coordination with MoDOT, as well as projects that would improve the reliability of the state-supported Amtrak Missouri River Runner service.

River Runner currently operates at 79 mph, and with “incremental improvements could travel as fast as 90 mph,” MoDOT officials said in a prepared statement. The draft plan calls for a staged approach to establishing a high-speed rail service (at 110 mph or higher) between St. Louis and Kansas City. It also would set priorities for developing new corridors, such as service to Springfield and Hannibal, and feeder bus routes to Branson, Columbia and St. Joseph.

On the freight side, the plan suggests identifying ways to encourage intermodal access at Missouri ports by increasing capacity of existing tracks, industrial spurs and sidings, and by supporting the development of additional rail access where new industrial development opportunities exist, MoDOT officials said.

Last fall, Amtrak, freight railroads, shippers, economic and transportation agencies joined citizens at public meetings to discuss ideas for the state’s rail system.

“Public input is just as important now as we finalize Missouri’s rail development strategies for the next two decades,” said Kristi Jamison, state rail plan project manager.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/12/2012