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Senator Harkin supports Iowa City-Chicago passenger rail

(The Associated Press circulated the following on June 7, 2009.)

CORALVILLE, Iowa U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin has expressed his support for efforts to develop an Iowa City to Chicago passenger rail connection.

That effort has been given new energy by recent increases in Amtrak's budget and $8 billion for passenger rail included in recent federal stimulus legislation.

At an appearance Saturday in Coralville, Iowa, Harkin cautioned that it's too early to know how the federal funds will be distributed, but said he is hopeful a line to Chicago can be established.

A feasibility study last year outlined a proposal for two trains each way daily between Iowa City and Chicago. Operating at 79 mph, the service would draw more than 76,000 passengers a year on the Quad Cities-Iowa City leg. It would be a 98-minute segment of a five-hour Chicago-Iowa City service.

Monday, June 8, 2009

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