Shame on anyone who thinks the Heartland isn’t a suitable place for passenger rail. Iowa has utilized its wind and biofuel resources to make it a green leader, and the state seems on track to recognize rail’s importance in that effort. The Des Moines Register calls it “high-speed rail,” but apparently the line would only travel to Chicago at a max of around 80mph, or a travel time of 5 hours. Nothing revolutionary, but that’s competitive with driving, and true (or even incremental) HSR doesn’t happen overnight. From Des Moines’s KCCI:
President Barack Obama pitched his green energy plan in Iowa on Wednesday and draw raves for his proposal to build a high-speed rail network that with a line connecting Des Moines to Chicago.
“We could be on a train to Chicago in the next three years,” said Andrew Snow of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, a group pushing the high-speed rail plan. “It’s going to bring people to downtown Des Moines. It also offers the opportunity to make the quality of life better here.”
Obama said mass transit is green transit.
“My budget is also making unprecedented investments in mass transit, high-speed rail and in our highway system to reduce the congestion that wastes money and time and energy,” Obama said.
The project is expected to cost about $30 million to connect the rail from Des Moines to the Quad Cities. Illinois has already started construction on the rest of the leg.
Apparently most of that cost would be covered by the federal stimulus (thankfully, it seems, not the HSR money). The Iowa Legislature only needs to pony up $3 million. For a decent passenger rail line? That’s a bargain, and it’s expected to pass.