debate over iowa passenger rail

Good morning, riders.

A lot has been written about last week’s announcement of a $230 million grant for passenger rail from Chicago to Iowa City — some critical, some hopeful. Here are two notable pieces, in case you missed either of them:

The Des Moines Register on Monday published a front-page article posing the question: Is rail expansion in Iowa worth the wait? Reporter William Petroski concluded that the service would neither be the cheapest nor the fastest way to travel to Chicago when compared to other modes, including flying, driving or private charter bus. The comparison uses today’s travel times, fares and gasoline costs. The passenger line will open in five years at the earliest. Click here to read the full story.

Among the 54 selected for funding, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood chose to highlight the grant for the Iowa City project, by paying a visit to the city to present a big check and by writing about it in his blog, The Fast Lane. Secretary LaHood called the projects “building blocks of high-speed corridors” and the Iowa City project “a first step toward introducing passenger rail service on an emerging high-speed rail corridor.” Click here to read his full blog post.