Credit Gov. Terry Branstad for drawing the line that stopped Amtrak expansion at the Iowa border.

Branstad never supported the Quad-City to Iowa City extension, saying the capital and operating costs were too stiff for Iowa taxpayers to handle.

Flash back three years ago, when federal transportation authorities awarded Iowa and Illinois a $230 million grant to study Chicago through Iowa rail service. Shortly after, Iowa DOT officials abandoned the Q-C to Iowa City portion, choosing instead to spend the federal money studying another interstate route.

In January, a DOT report acknowledged the delay, but still said the Iowa vision included establishment of a intrastate network, beginning with the Q-C to Iowa City extension: “The link between Chicago and Iowa City via the Quad-Cities is the first link in an incremental approach to implementation… .”

The Iowa extension was priced at $108.6 million, according to a previous estimate. Federal authorities would have covered $88 million, leaving the state’s share at about $20 million.

Last week, Iowa DOT rail service chief Tammy Nicholson said rising construction costs have pushed passenger rail off the DOT priority list. This latest analysis pushes the overall cost up. Iowa’s share would now be $72 million.

Iowa’s deferred planning resulted in dismissed funding. The federal DOT moved $34 million in Iowa transportation grant funding to Illinois, where work is well underway.

Branstad consistently has balked at high capital and operating costs for rail. But he’s lavished much bigger tax cuts on other businesses. Under Branstad’s authority, Iowa awarded $50 million in tax credits to Orascom, then piled on another $57 million in tax credits to CF Industries, which demanded the same deal for its new fertilizer plant.

Of course, this is a discount against the firms’ future taxes, not money out of the state treasury. But it shows how far Branstad will go to support some new businesses, while stiffing others. His cold shoulder for Amtrak reflects a sentiment not shared in our Quad-Cities. Our business and government leaders understand that the direct Amtrak line from Chicago to Moline adds a more affordable transportation option. We understand that extending the line 60 or so miles to Iowa City would benefit thousands of Iowans and Chicagoans with connections to the university.

Unlike the governor, we in the Quad-Cities acknowledge that all transportation is subsidized. Every airport, every highway, every waterway operates with direct state and federal government assistance. No method of transportation pays for itself.

Leaders in other states, including Illinois, understand the importance of diversifying public transportation options. Iowa has a single line across its southern tier that hits Burlington, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa and Osceola before reaching Omaha. None of Iowa’s biggest cities – Des Moines, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids or the Quad-Cities has passenger rail.

Illinois has three routes with daily Amtrak service to Bloomington, Champaign, Springfield, Carbondale, St. Louis and 23 other cities. And thanks to Illinois’ better rail planning, the state of Illinois also has $34 million in federal transportation funds Iowa turned down.

(52) comments

Lumpart

Well, congrats to Illinois for taking full advantage of this. Stay classy Branstad.

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

The Republican party of Eisenhower created the Interstate Hwy system, The GOP of T. Roosevelt created the National or dare I say Federal park management system and put timber cutting under federal supervision. The Grand ole party of Lincoln erected tariff's to prevent "pauper labor imports" And Nixon gave us the EPA. The parasites of the Ann Randians and tea party "no nothings" must be fumigated from the Grand Ole party or the party must be quarantined and allowed to die. Reject the "cult" of revisionist historians political barbarians! Bitter people who refuse to live in community with their fellow citizens and Church members.

They are Those who tolerate and promote economic and social abuse by the few and cloak its foul stench in the sweet perfume of liberty.

They are the greatest threat to this country because they ignore the widening income gap that is the ruination of all great societies.

Rail infrastructure is a way to narrow the income gap and bind the country together thru a common thread. This is why they cant win an election in a city of over 100,000 people because city folks inherently realize the advantage's and necessity of community living.

The GOP radicals cling to an idea of America that ended with the Oklahoma land rush. You have a better chance to become POTUS than to be a farmer and yet they spout the same tired old propaganda of upward mobility, while pulling the ladder out from workers.

DEJ

There has never been a Amtrak line that has ever paid for itself. A dead horse. It's government ran, so it will never be profitable. Lets not listen to tax and spent liberals on taking on another project that this state or country don't have the money for.

ahblid

DEJ,

Actually for many years passenger rail was privately owned and operated. Then Government interfered in the Free Market by subsidizing flying & driving. Private industry realized that they couldn't compete with Uncle Sam's deep pockets and Amtrak was born.

Despite the deck being stacked against Amtrak, it not only survived but it now does have routes that do cover their operating expenses. The impediment that prevents more routes from covering their costs remains those hefty subsidies to flying & driving. Take them away and flying & driving will become much more expensive. At which point Amtrak will be able to raise fares enough to cover its costs as it will still be cheaper than flying & driving.

You speak of tax & spend, well I already quoted just how much a senior pays in taxes for things. Here's what a married couple with 2 kids and $80K in income pays for things: In 2009 that couple saw $3.83 of their Federal income taxes go to Amtrak. They watched $110.06 of their Federal income taxes go to highways.

You would actually be helping yourself to get lower taxes if you parked your car and took an Amtrak train instead of complaining about Amtrak.

Concerned Parent 60

Wow, just wow! The big government liberals are so obtuse sometimes that it just floors me. Indiana has 6.5 million people, Michigan has 8.9 million people, Illinois has 12 million people. Iowa has 4 million people. In order to support a redundant transportation system you need enough population that would call for it, or possibly enough in surrounding States. Indiana has Ohio, Michigan and Illinois adjascent to it, We have States with much lower populations. The numbers just do not add up.

Additionally, it is not a better mousetrap. Currently, kids traveling to Chicago jump on Megabus, which is cheaper, FASTER, and delivers them to the Suburbs where they live, instead of Downtown Chicago. Secondly, most people prefer to travel to Chicago by car, it is simply more convenient and in most cases cheaper if you already have made the investment in a car, insurance and license.

I applaud Branstad for his fiscal prudence on this issue.

ahblid

WOW, just wow! Too bad you are totally wrong regarding so many things. Let's start with the easy one. Amtrak in 2010 got $1.5 Billion in subsidies. Highways in 2010 got $118 Billion in subsidies. Which do you think created a bigger "big government"?

Regarding Mega, they run their buses on those subsidized highways & streets. And they pull up at city halls, train stations, and any other place that they can find to Freeload off of the public teat rather than paying fees to use bus terminals like more normal bus companies do.

As for the claims about needing huge population numbers; wrong again. The State of Virginia contracted with Amtrak back in fiscal 2010 to run a new service between Lynchburg population of just over 70,000 people to Washington DC. Lynchburg is not a bedroom community for DC at 175 miles from DC and more than a 3 hour drive. The train also calls at Charlottsville population of 44K and Culpeper population 16.6K before reaching Manasas. Manasas, which has a bit more population, is served by a local commuter train which offer more frequent service and much cheaper train service.

The Lynchburg train arrives into DC just after 11 AM and the return departs about 4 PM, making an 8 hour work day impossible. Virginia estimated a first year ridership of just under 50,000 and based upon that, set aside enough money to fund a 3 year test. Just 6 months into the first year, the train had already carried more than 50K. By the end of the first year, it had carried 126,000 people.

Even more impressive, the State of Virginia never spent one dime of the money that they set aside. At the end of the year, the train had turned a $2.1 Million operating profit. Last fiscal year 2013, the train had carried 186,000 and turned a $3.5 Million operating profit.

Just for comparison, Chicago has a population of 2,714,856 while DC only has 632,323. Iowa City compares favorably with Lynchburg, coming in at 70K. But the Quad Cities brings a far greater population than anything along the Lynchburg line. Davenport for example has 101,363 people. In fact, all 4 of the Quad Cities bring 382,630 to the table; just about half the population of DC.

So, if it can work down in Virginia with less population in the service area than in the proposed service area for this train, there is no reason it shouldn't work here.

justlucky

It would be nice to see an article that includes the Railroad's perspective. Not Amtrak but the roads that Amtrak would run over.

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

Railroads are the poster child for crony capitalism which tea-b@ggers are supposed to loath like a vampire hates garlic. Yet any attempt to have Government take over this industry and eliminate its monopolies and allow passenger service is met with hiss and boo's. I am beginning to wonder if tea b@ggers are like the Moonies of the 80's at the airports.

TruthOnlyBeTold
TruthOnlyBeTold

" Yet any attempt to have Government take over this industry and eliminate its monopolies and allow passenger service is met with hiss and boo's."

You scare me...

coffee cup
coffee cup

"Mark Riley 4 State Senate" ? How about "Mark Riley 4 Governor" instead? Great posts Mr. Riley!

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

I urge Everyone interested in Rail or that oppose Rail to take a moment and read.

FREE LUNCH by David Cay Johnston. sub title "How the wealthiest Americans enrich themselves at Government Expense(and stick you with the bill)

Chapter 20 Rising Snow

How John Snow the CEO of CSXT Railroad became Bush's treasury sec.

If you want to have the scam explained to you on how the Class 1 railroads defraud the public and Amtrak, why they don't carry passengers, why if your killed on a Amtrak train while riding their rail and its due to their lack of maintenance you cant sue the railroads. Why tax payers carry the liability for all passenger rail in America and why our railroads are still the safest form of transportation when compared to Hwys, yet utterly unsafe when compared with European rail systems.

TruthOnlyBeTold
TruthOnlyBeTold

"Illinois has three routes with daily Amtrak service to Bloomington, Champaign, Springfield, Carbondale, St. Louis and 23 other cities. And thanks to Illinois’ better rail planning, the state of Illinois also has $34 million in federal transportation funds Iowa turned down."

The above has to be the most slanted comparison I have ever seen. Those cities that are listed have rail service only because Chicago was (correctly) chosen as a major rail hub when Amtrak was formed. Each one of those cities just happen to be on a route that connects Chicago with another major city. The 3 routes mentioned connect Chicago to the San Fransisco area, New Orleans and St Louis/Kansas City. If Chicago did not exist, Illinois would have been in the same position that Iowa was in when Amtrak was formed....the only reason Iowa got the rail service we did was because it happened to be on the route Amtrak chose to get to Denver and the west coast.

ahblid

The fact that those cities just happen to be located along a long distance route has nothing to do with the fact that those cities get short distance service. They are two totally different types of service. In fact, on the Texas Eagle, Amtrak actually blocks the selling of seats between Chicago & St. Louis in the cars that run through to Texas as they don't want local passengers preventing a long distance passenger from getting a seat.

During some times of the year an extra coach car is added to the back of the train between St. Louis & Chicago to carry local passengers and that car is taken off in St. Louis.

But again, the fact that those cities are served by long distance trains has nothing to do with the fact that they also have short distance trains. Michigan has short distance trains that run out of Chicago; yet there are no long distance trains that run into the State. And Illinois actually runs short haul trains into Quincy, which has no long distance service either.

TruthOnlyBeTold
TruthOnlyBeTold

You ignored the entire premise of what I said.....if there had not been a major rail hub, if Chicago was just a small town.....suppose the nearest major rail hub was in Indianapolis, would these same cities still have Amtrak service? I say probably not, they would have been in the same position Iowa is today, relying on the happenstance of Amtrak putting a line with upgraded rail through your city. I'm saying these cities benefit from their size and their proximity to Chicago, making it financially feasible to run the extra trains. Which is why the comparison this editorial made is not comparing apples to apples.

I do understand what you are saying, but here's another question, if Amtrak had not chosen those routes and made sure the rails were upgraded, would those same cities still have a separate service? Maybe the larger cities closer in would have, but how about those cities in southern Illinois? If Iowa had upgraded rails on the proposed route, we probably wouldn't even be talking about this.

I also understand what Miles W Rich said about the Rock Island Railroad and the condition of their tracks when Amtrak was created, but wouldn't Amtrak have been better off in the long run and Iowa served much better, if Amtrak would have paid for the upgrades to the track and bridges across Iowa and served it's largest cities? Not to mention, the Rock Island RR would have benefited from the upgraded track. And doesn't Amtrak have to pay some sort of fee to use the tracks they run on?....another benefit to the now demised Rock.

I agree with nyiowa, using Illinois' judgment on how to spend money is laughable considering their financial condition. I'd rather wait and see if the ridership predictions for Chicago to Moline that have been made come to fruition during the first year and then decide if an extension to Iowa City and Des Moines is feasible. If Iowa decides it wants the money, and Amtrak decides it would be worthwhile, I am confident the money will be there. Maybe by then Iowa will have another big spender like big Chet as governor and a legislature ruled by democrats....then we can all ride in style on the RR. We could even include a line across the northern part of the state. Shoot, make it like it was way-back-when we had rail service to every little town in Iowa....of course, all those lines went belly-up....maybe for a reason.

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

Facts and truth must not be synonymous! Read! Railroads make no up grades for passenger service that are not paid for by public dollars. Elgin Metra line Chicago. Old Milwaukee Road/Cp rail line, Metra invest in the track infrastructure and up grades and maintains the line for priority rights of its skoots. Elgin Dispatcher, Tower B17 and B12 operators CP employees. The Elgin Dispatcher is physically located in CP Rails North American head qtrs. St Paul Mn. All passenger rail is financed by public dollars already. They give private companies public tax dollars. How many ways does this need to be explained to you tea party types. Is there a code word that you read or hear that causes this nonsensical rant. The Manchurian candidate is for real!

ahblid

Truth,

Well if getting service to Michigan and Quincy makes sense because Chicago is a hub; then getting rail service to the Quad-cities and Iowa city makes just as much sense. If it doesn't make sense for Iowa, then it can't make sense for Michigan.

It's really that simple!

Next, what Amtrak pays to the host RR's wouldn't have allowed the Rock to survive.

Finally, most of those rail lines that did go belly-up so many years ago did so because Government interfered in the Free Market by subsidizing flying & driving. Private industry realized that they couldn't compete with Uncle Sam's deep pockets and they wanted out of the passenger market and Amtrak was born.

freesenior

The government is on financial life support via debt. Distributing borrowed money for such projects defies logic, but when does logic mean anything to lobbies and powerbrokers. No thanks.

ahblid

freesenior,

So when are we banning the lobbies & powerbrokers for the highways and airlines? Because they're far more powerful and grab far more of that "borrowed money" than do those representing trains.

According to the Taxpayer's Receipt for 2009 a retired couple with $100K in income watched $3.11 of their Federal income tax dollars go to Amtrak. They watched $10.80 go to airport security with still more going to EAS and the air traffic control system. And they watched $89.38 of their Federal income tax dollars go into our highways.

That's $89.38 just in Federal income tax dollars, on top of what they paid via Federal fuel taxes assuming that they can even still drive a car. And of course they paid various state & local taxes to further help pay for highways, as well as local streets.

Put simply, as a senior who seems to be worried about their taxes, you are losing far more money to those highway & airline "lobbies and powerbrokers" than you are losing to Amtrak.

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

Hey I am interested where you got that info! do you have a reference or source?

ahblid

Mark,

Sure! Here you go.

http://www.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=2FVQtAo10QlXS4uTVXVzfIBepVVNbUlus9N$Tns$ZfDhZGQYyHOp235JA2Ffg9624Aw$6wU9GSUcqtd9hs3TFeZCn0vq69IZViKeqDZhqNLziaXiKG0K_ms4C2keQo54&CONTENTTYPE=application/pdf&CONTENTDISPOSITION=TAXRECEIPT-CST-1215.2.pdf

freesenior

Good question. In my opinion they are all the same but the reference was specific to Amtrak and I gave a generic response. Waste, foolish decision making and indeed almost legalized corruption is not going to go away until there is a public buyin to sharp pencils and steadfast resolve. Much of what can be seen, especially in the highway scenario is make work because they were never built to last in the first place. Airlines and the public have caved to the false notion that all that government security and other regulation is really saving lives and they pass on he costs to the traveler while doing all they can to eliminate competition. None of them, including the administrative mental defectives so cherished by a self aware and controling government get a pass on this.

nyiowa

Classic shoddy QC Times reporting, shallow editorial, and empty headed liberal rantings.
If I were a businessperson assessing the Amtrak project, I would be studying actual ridership projections, cost vs ticket price projections, and the (financial) success of similar rail projects. I would hold up as a red flag that the Iowa investment prediction has been multiplied 5X since the "assessment" was conducted.
Instead we get non-fact based "it seems like a good (and green) idea" and the truly remarkeable suggestion that we should consider Illinois funding decisions as some kind of road map for Iowa (really? I couldn't even think that without laughing out loud, yet there it is in an editorial obviously written without 5 minutes of thinking behind it)
And of course the predictable thoughtless liberal responses "blame the Tea Party" "taxpayer money is endless and free so lets spend more quickly" "havent seen a govt waste before, why worry now"
While I am in favor of rail projects like this, it is clearly lower on the list than the I74 bridge and long term business/job stumulus projects. And I wouldn't start screaming about Branstad's cautious approach to an Illinois approved idea without the facts and numbers that show why this business decision is such a "no brainer". Than again, the next fact based argument from the left would be the first...

R A Cole
R A Cole

Liberals are hopelessly addicted to spending other people’s money and this is why they love the idea of an expensive rail system that will end up way over budget and will be run at a significant annual loss. The true cost of construction and operation on government sponsored projects are typically vastly underestimated and the true cost is usually staggering. This is how the politicians get these things approved and stick it to taxpayers. The very simple reason that we do not need rail in Iowa is because we have a great highway system.

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

The problem is that you have failed to understand the Highway system is a product of the Cold War. We learned from interrogating German Generals and Armaments minister Albert Sphere(sp) that when we bombed the Extensive German rail system in WW2 they developed the German Autobon. Which when hit with a bomb merely required a dump truck load of gravel to resume traffic. The Eisenhower administration build our interstate system in response to the soviet threat and lessons learned from WW2.

The Highway system never runs in the black and always requires a tax payer subsidy which almost nobody complains about. Airports, Locks and dams and every other form of transportation to include satellite launches and the shuttle have their infrastructure paid for by government. Rail is the only private infrastructure and is run for profit which is why it is so bad, so unfriendly to shippers, monopolistic, tech avoidance and dangerous. we are the worst country in the world for rail safety and I work for 1 of the seven monopolies.

Government needs to buy the rail infrastructure and promote rail travel which would be the best form of community travel as well as the 2nd least inefficient with tax dollars.

The first of course is Harbor structure which has a bonus of money because we import so many products from countries with cheap labor. and they pay a fee every time they enter our ports just like planes and barges which use runways and dams

Conservatives need to stop their mind numbing parroting of pseudo intellectual radio host and actually think this one thru with facts. Its a no brain er for less government spending.

Atl541

I couldn't agree more Mark. Thanks!

Atl541

I don't understand the Tea Party/Republican ideology but I know its centered in disdain for the government. This disdain for the government has always been around but the Republicans began riding it high during the Reagan administration. In general we have one party who believes government can and should help its citizens and another party who wants to drown government in a bathtub. I guess once they drown government in a bathtub we won't have to worry about regulating business and the EPA.

Embarassed Iowan
Embarassed Iowan

Mr. Brandstad has no problem giving away the Iowa Taxpayers money to large corporations so that he can shift the tax burden to Iowans. Yet, he's happy to shut down a transportation plan that could benefit not only Iowa but the region. ~30% of students at the University of Iowa come from Illinois and thousands of Alums live in Chicagoland. Why wouldn't you take on this project and drive some money into the Iowa economy. Unbelievable! Well not really considering Branstad didn't have anything personally to gain here!

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

This Governor and rural GOP legislators want to raise the fuel tax of working class Iowans to pave their country roads that were dirt in the 1930's. FDR did not even bother to pave country roads in Iowa when Family farms were more numerous than today. FDR actively looked to build infrastructure in the country in order to put Americans to work.
Working class Iowans live in the cities and suburbs and consist of more than 99% of the population. WE SHOULD ONLY RAISE the fuel tax if a portion of the money is diverted to building rail infrastructure and providing a safer, more economical and environmentally friendly and COLLECTIVE mode of transportation for the general population. After all its the General population of Iowa the taxes will be coming from.

Branstad represents the 1% and thus is a governor opposed to the General or common good of Iowans.

I have a dream! LOL in which a Riley boy graduating from Central HS this year boards a Train in the early morning in Davenport and rides to Iowa City 3 times a week for college. thus saving his parents the cost of Dorm life, Iowa City housing, a car and their son driving on snowy icy roads back and forth on I80. Of course my boys last name is not Branstad which means he can go to any college he wants and get picked up for drunk driving, failure to control his car or speeding. just saying

TruthOnlyBeTold
TruthOnlyBeTold

"Working class Iowans live in the cities and suburbs and consist of more than 99% of the population."

According to State Data Center of Iowa, the urban population of Iowa in 2010 was 64.02%. The rural population was 35.98%.

http://www.iowadatacenter.org/quickfacts

Living in a dorm or apartment is part of the learning experience of college life...your son will be better off later in life from the experience and YOU will feel a sense of pride for not depending on the good taxpayers of Iowa to help fund your sons travel expenses.

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

Murphey's rule number 2 & 11

Never give unsolicited advice on family.

Never argue with a fool, people may not be able to tell the difference.

Embarassed Iowan
Embarassed Iowan

Great Post Mr. Riley!

Mark Riley 4 State Senate
Mark Riley 4 State Senate

Engineer for Canadian Pacific Rail, I run on the Elgin Metra line every other day into Bensenville. Merry Christmas to fellow Hawk fans and Iowans in the big windy.

The Voice of Reason

Never miss a chance at a personal swipe, Mr. Riley. Shame.

Merlotsucks5

Would adding a Amtrak connection bring more Chicago and surrounding area folks to Iowa?

Is the governor just trying to keep some people out?

Embarassed Iowan
Embarassed Iowan

Yes, former Iowans like me who live in Chicago and visit Iowa to see my family and my Iowa Hawkeye's! Oh yeah, and WHO SPEND MONEY IN IOWA!!!!!!! Brain-dead does it again!

sdepasquale-at-qctimes-dot-com
sdepasquale-at-qctimes-dot-com

It appears my account has been hacked. I keep clear of all political debate on the web.

Miles W Rich
Miles W Rich

interstate 80, cost over a million dollars a mile to build, when it was built in the early 1960s..the reason that Amtrak chose the route through southern Iowa when it was born in 1971 is twofold. First, The Rock Island lines did not join Amtrak because they could not afford to, so Amtrak could not run their train over the Rock Island tracks between Chicago and Omaha. Second, The Rock Island was in such bad shape physically, that it would have cost of fortune to rehab the tracks so that passenger trains could run at 79 MPH. on Amtrak day, the Burlington was still running two trains across Iowa, the California Zephyr, and the Denver Zephyr. The Rock Island, had dropped its cross Iowa service, first with the discontinuation of the shortened Rocky Mountain rocket which became the Cornhusker, which terminated in Council Bluffs because the Rock Island did not want to pay to use the bridge to cross the Missouri River into Omaha a few years before Amtrak took over inner rail passenger service.

TruthOnlyBeTold
TruthOnlyBeTold

I guess I don't see why Iowa should have to pay anything for a new route across Iowa. The proposed route via Davenport, Iowa City, Des Moines to Council Bluffs and Omaha is the route that Amtrak should have chosen when Amtrak was created. Why in the world did they choose to avoid the most populated areas? Amtrak new they wanted to run a route west from Chicago through Omaha, so why not route it through even more populated areas along the way? So now Iowans are expected to help pay for something Amtrak should have done when it was created. Just goes to show that Amtrak is not exactly a well run endeavor.

Iowa City to Mt. Pleasant is about 50 miles (about a 45 minute drive since 218 is now 4 lane, 65mph)

Des Moines to Osceola is about 45 miles (I-35 quick trip)

Council Bluffs to the Amtrak station in Omaha is minutes away

Davenport to the new station in Moline will be mere minutes away...so stop crying.

QC Father

So, if I read that correctly, the federal Government gave us 230 MILLION dollars to STUDY the idea. It would have cost the taxpayers 20 Million, while the Feds gave up another 88 Million? And its NOT being built?

Im sorry, but Branstad has to go AGAIN !!!..... That is just plain ignorant if you ask me. A total of 20 million dollar investment (which is chump change now..., just to STUDY it (which they didn't even use that money for that)..... and we could have had people from Chicago heading west, and Iowa City (eventually the entire state) heading to Chicago RIGHT through (and stopping and potentially spending money)....

Its like the NASCAR Track, its like the windfarms, its like Iowa is frozen in time, stranded behind "leaders" who are more interested in special interests groups to keeep us a bunch of hillbillies...... and then they wonder why everyone wants to leave after graduation???

The Voice of Reason

Father, you understand that Governor Branstad is presiding over a state with a billion dollar surplus next to a state that is effectively bankrupt taking federal dollars from a country that cannot live withing it's budget, right?

Fred W

Could you imagine these nitwits in office 56 years ago? Eisenhower would have been "primaried" out in '57 (too mainstream) in his bid for a second term and we would have never had an Interstate Highway system built. And today, no surprise with Brandstad giving away $107 million in corporate welfare to Orascom and Cf Industries while he cries "uncle" with the prospect of $72 million for expanded passenger rail service in Iowa. Typical Branstad - he knows who's paying his freight and it isn't Amtrak!

Vrya

Branstad has collected tons of campaign contributions from grain rail , who has pressured him not to support bill. Interstate 80 is a dangerous mess and it cost 2 Million a mile for concrete. Thanks Terry

Comment deleted.
Stonecold
Stonecold

Beautifully stated, Stephannie

zetar

Branstad is operating under the fantasy that he's going to be Ted Cruz's running mate and he's trying to beef up his, "shaft the citizens, fawn all over businesses" credentials.

This is a shame. A train between Davenport and Iowa City would be a boon to both cities. Property values are three times higher in Iowa City than here in the QCs. People could live in Davenport and work in Iowa City, or go to school.

Klaatu
Klaatu

Yeah, a real shame. Now the taxpayers won't be asked to pony up some $132.00 every time a rider steps on an empty train. You are operating under a lot of fantasies, and all of them include getting someone to pay a lot of taxes.

coffee cup
coffee cup

When was the last time you rode Amtrak? I can assure you that the trains are not empty. Braindead is living up to his nickname.

IrishbloodAmericanheart

It's ok, he believes everything he hears on the AM radio and of course anything on Fox News. But Mrs. Klaato, I'm willing to bet that if fracking were an option from the QC to Iowa City you would be all for it. And the trains are far from empty. Why don't you hop in your gas eating Hummer or Ford F350 dually and drive out to the Princeton Illinois train depot and see how many people board and exit that train every afternoon. But you keep fantasizing about trickle down economics and how that worked for us, and I'll keep popping oxycodone with Rush Limbaugh.

Faith

When my Grandson was in school in Chicago would take Amtrak to Princeton and we would pick him up there. Often he would have to take a later train because the earlier one was full. My husband and I have taken a couple of Amtrak vacations and have had a wonderful time. I think our Governor is very short sighted. Think of the travelers that could make Iowa a destination on Amtrak

Brad Kort
Brad Kort

That's too bad, it will mean few visits to Iowa for us. My wife and I love riding Amtrak. After visiting Pella recently, we wanted to go back. We also have family in Iowa it would be nice to visit. But living in Chicago, we really don't want to be driving there and back. To expensive, and I can't work and drive like I can on the train.

daves

It would have been helpful if the writer provided a table that showed the subsidies by type of travel mentioned. (I.e.: auto, air, rail - "X" $'s subsidy per passenger mile traveled.) I do not know for sure but would assume that rail finishes last (most subsidies.)

Rail travel is great in other countries but not so in America. Iowa was wise to take a wait and see approach. If it is GREAT for the QC, high average PAID riders without a requirment for the state or others to pay more subsidies for operation and maintenance then I am sure the case will be made for an Iowa City and beyond route...

And the fed will provide inflation adjusted $'s for the same. I imagine it is similiar to going to a bank - easier to get a loan approved with a good business case and model than to walk in and say, "Mr. Banker - I have a great idea - give me millions and I promise I will pay you back."

senor citizen

Illinois may be the first state to go bankrupt, a poor example on how to govern a state which has been supporting their former governors with well deserved prison terms. AMTRAK will never be self-supporting and I know this will come as shock to The Times staff, but the Federal Government collects monies for such a project from the American Taxpayer. This money does not fall from the sky as you would have us believe.

ExQC911

Senor citizen - you are right in that grant money from the Federal Government does come from tax payers, but your federal tax will not go down since Iowa turned the money down. Now Iowa taxpayer will see their tax dollars go to Illinois for their rail project. If Iowa taxpayers are going to pay part of the cost they should see some of the results of the projects.

Welcome to the discussion.

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