Progress continues toward high-speed rail development in Missouri. While the bullet trains are not coming anytime soon, significant improvements could occur if the Federal Railroad Administration approves MoDOT's application for $200 million in economic recovery funding. Competition for the limited $8 billion in available funding will be strong, considering the $103 billion in applications submitted by 40 states.
However, MoDOT, in partnership with Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak, has developed a very good list of proposed improvements. These projects will not only put people to work quickly, they will remove significant system bottlenecks and allow for increased train speeds. MoDOT has also been working with other Midwest states to acquire modern and efficient train equipment to replace the current 1960's-era trains.
Construction work on Missouri's first-ever publicly funded rail capacity project is on schedule for completion in 2009. This new 9,000-foot passing rail siding near California will eliminate a 25-mile section with no siding long enough to hold a freight train. This area has been a major bottleneck in the past.
Passenger ridership in Missouri remains strong, closing the state fiscal year 10 percent above last year. This is largely due to improved on-time performance, which has been above 95 percent since January 1st. People are running out of excuses for not using this service. What are you waiting for!? Go to www.morail.org and get aboard!