Missouri Governor Jay Nixon confirmed on March 29 that his state is applying for almost $1 billion in newly available federal railroad funds recently rejected by Florida Governor Rick Scott. The application, which was due April 4, includes immediate upgrades to improve speeds and schedule reliability along existing rail lines between St. Louis and Kansas City, and long-term design, engineering and preparation for construction of a separate, dedicated rail line between the two cities that would support even higher speeds.
If granted, about $373 million of the federal funds would be used right away to improve and upgrade rail equipment and infrastructure. Projects would include new sidings, mainlines, bridges, removal of grade crossings, train cars, and other equipment and infrastructure to enable Amtrak trains traveling between St. Louis and Kansas City to travel at higher speeds, with greater schedule reliability. Train service also would be enhanced by improvements to the station at Jefferson City. Another $600 million would be used for long-term planning and design of a Missouri high-speed rail line.
“The design, planning and construction of this project would create high-paying jobs in communities across Missouri over the next several years, and provide the necessary resources to prepare for construction of a dedicated high-speed passenger line,” says Governor Nixon. “It would be a transformative step for Missouri, both in terms of the jobs created and in developing this mode of transportation between our state's two largest metropolitan areas and the cities along the route, including the state capital.”
For the past two years, Governor Nixon has been working cooperatively with the State of Illinois on pursuing funds for improvements to the Chicago-St. Louis rail corridor. In addition, Missouri also has already received $32 million in federal funding for improvements to the St. Louis-Kansas City corridor.
“This is an exciting opportunity in terms of both transportation and economic development that we will not let go by,” Nixon adds. “We will submit an extremely competitive application and work aggressively to turn these funds into new jobs and economic growth here in Missouri.”