Iowa Leaders: Time Running Out for Passenger Rail

FILE - In this March 22, 2011 file photo, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin are joined by state and local officials as they announce the next phase of high-speed rail construction during a news conference at an Amtrak maintenance building in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

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By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa leaders say time is running out for the state to make use of federal funding to expand its passenger rail service.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports millions of dollars in federal funding for a passenger rail line between Iowa City and Chicago remains untapped. Lawmakers say the holdup is in the Legislature, where Iowa officials need to put up a $20 million match.

Passenger rail advocates say now other states are eyeing the money. Federal transportation officials committed $230 million in late 2010, with the condition that Iowa and Illinois state governments would help pay for the project.

Supporters say an expanded passenger rail would be convenient for riders and bring money to the state. Others have expressed concern about costs attached to operating the train.

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