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The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) recently released its 2017 state rail plan. The department has updated the plan, which targets ways to help improve the state’s freight-rail system, expand passenger-rail service and promote rail safety.
The state rail plan was developed several years ago as a guide for Iowa’s short- and long-term rail transportation planning activities and project development plans through 2040. IDOT serves as the state’s rail transportation authority and is responsible for reviewing and approving the plan.
Iowa’s rail system plays an essential role in linking the state’s shippers and receivers with markets throughout North America and the world, IDOT officials wrote in the plan’s executive summary. High-volume rail shippers and receivers include those involved in the agricultural, food and biofuel industries.
“Historically, Iowa has been a major nexus for rail traffic traveling on Class Is between the West Coast, Midwest and the East, and between the Midwest and the Gulf,” IDOT officials wrote. “Iowa’s regional and short line railroads extend freight-rail service into all areas of the state. Although Amtrak’s long-distance passenger-rail services in the state are limited, Amtrak provides essential transportation services for Iowans.”
The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 requires states to develop Federal Railroad Administration-accepted rail plans to be eligible for capital grants.
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