Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

In Iowa, Another Midwest HSR Plan in Jeopardy

Will Iowa join Ohio and Wisconsin in rejecting federal funds for passenger rail?

Republican state legislators recently introduced a budget proposal that does not include the matching funds that were supposed to be Iowa's contribution to a high-speed rail line connecting its largest cities to Chicago. The federal government had committed $230 of the $310 million for lines in Illinois and Iowa through a TIGER grant. The state of Iowa had committed $10 million to the project.

false

Some observers have downplayed the extent of the threat. But, drawing on lessons from recent train fiascoes in Midwest, Transportation for America, is sounding the alarm:

It’s imperative that the Iowa legislature and Governor Branstad follow through on their state’s commitment to build this valuable new service. Following the path of I-80 and I-88, it would hit all the major population centers of Iowa on it’s way to and from Chicago.

Where the story on this project differs from similar recent stories in Wisconsin and Ohio of grants going back to Washington is that this project spans two states for an interstate rail line. Illinois will be able to keep their share of the grant, which is larger since the bulk of the route spans their state, but what will happen to the route? Will it simply stop at the border at the new Moline multimodal hub? What about the future of a Omaha/Des Moines/Iowa City connection to Chicago? Will it bypass important Iowa cities?

The legislative session hasn’t started yet, so it may be premature to jump to any conclusions yet as the Iowa Chamber said, but as the recent cuts in Wisconsin and Ohio showed us, it’s important that these leaders hear from supporters early and often — long before a decision is made. And incoming Governor Terry Branstad has thus far pledged to keep the issue nonpartisan and examine the project fairly and honestly. He needs to be held to that promise.

Transportation for America is recommending Iowa residents contact their elected representatives.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Greater Greater Washington outlines a "social contract" for cyclists. And also in D.C., Wash Cycle tries to get a read on how the new mayoral administration of Vince Gray will affect the city's progress on bike infrastructure.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Talking Headways Podcast: Charging Up Transportation

This week, we talk to the great Gabe Klein, executive director of President Biden's Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (and a former Streetsblog board member), about curbside electrification.

April 18, 2024

Why Does the Vision Zero Movement Stop At the Edge of the Road?

U.S. car crash deaths are nearly 10 percent higher if you count collisions that happen just outside the right of way. So why don't off-road deaths get more air time among advocates?

April 18, 2024

Donald Shoup: Here’s a Parking Policy That Works for the People

Free parking has a veneer of equality, but it is unfair. Here's a proposal from America's leading parking academic that could make it more equitable.

April 18, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines Turn Up the Heat

Whether you realize it or not, climate change is here, and not just in the form of natural disasters.

April 18, 2024

Calif. Legislators Tackle AV, School Zone Safety

Are AVs freight trucks ready to be deployed on California roads with no one in them?

April 17, 2024
See all posts