ProRail Nebraska -- Nebraska's Association of Railroad Passengers and Supporters
Dedicated to supporting and advocating for railroad service
We're Helping Get Nebraska On Track!
Next Member Meeting: Saturday, June 1, 2013, 9:00 am in Lincoln at Hardin Hall on the UNL East Campus. Click here to view the Agenda. The general public is welcome to attend!
State Senator Annette Dubas, Chair of the Transportation & Telecommunications Committee, will be our guest speaker talking about Nebraska's membership in the MIPRC. See article below.
Next Board Meeting: Saturday, June 1, 2013, following the Membership Meeting at UNL's Hardin Hall in Lincoln. Please contact Dave Purdy, PRN President, for details.
Status of LB 486 – Appropriate Funds to pay Nebraska’s Dues in the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact (MIPRC)
By Bob Kuzelka - ProRail Vice President - May 9, 2013
486 was introduced by State Senator Annette Dubas, District 34 and Chair of
the Legislature’s Transportation Committee.
It was referred to the Appropriations Committee which held a hearing
on the bill on March 21, 2013.
Both ProRail Nebraska and MIPRC testified in support of the bill.
intent of LB 486 has now been incorporated in Amendment (AM) 656 to LB 195
which was introduced by the Appropriations Committee to the Legislature on
April 29, 2013. In
“Section 15. AGENCY NO. 3 – Legislative Council” of the amendment
MIPRC funding has been included under “Program No. 501 –
The amounts of funds appropriated are $30,000 for FY 2013-2014 and
$15,000 for FY 2014-2015.
This handling of LB 486 meets with the approval of Senator Dubas,
MIPRC and PRN.
the next few weeks (Legislative Days 72 through 79) AM 656 will be debated
and amended. Finally,
in some form as an amended LB 195, it will be passed as the biennial budget
for the state and submitted to the Governor.
The governor may decide not to sign it and it becomes law, sign it as
submitted to him or make line item vetoes and return it to the Legislature.
The Legislature may override the vetoes.
At many points in this process the MIPRC funding as now proposed in
AM 656 could be changed and/or deleted.
Please check this PRN website occasionally to learn of any such
actions and what can be done as a result of them.
you have questions about the status and future of LB 486 now AM 656 to LB
195, please feel free to contact Bob Kuzelka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
here to view "Reasons why ProRail
Nebraska supports Nebraska Legislative Bill 486."
Click here to view "Reasons why ProRail Nebraska supports Nebraska Legislative Bill 486."
LINCOLN-CHICAGO PASSENGER RAIL
By David Purdy, ProRail Nebraska President, May 9, 2030
The State of Iowa is preparing a design for passenger rail service between Omaha and Chicago, using their state money and money from the federal government. Nebraska is not contributing to the effort and therefore does not participate in its management.
In its application for federal funds, Iowa said that the western terminal of the service would be in Omaha. Now, the time has come to decide in detail where the western terminal will actually be. Iowa has a free had in this regard. They could even place the terminal in Council Bluffs and thereby keep the expense of a Missouri River crossing out of their budget.
It is time for Nebraska to wake up and participate in the design. Nebraska should design the part of this project that is in Nebraska. The design should include an extension to Lincoln, so that the project serves a major portion of Nebraska’s population. Nebraska should finance their portion of the design, supplemented by federal funds if practical. Let’s get some action on this idea.
North Platte hosts annual Rail Fest
Rail Fest is an annual event that brings together the best aspects of North Platte, Nebraska and the Union Pacific Railroad - their people - into a united spirit of appreciation coupled with a focus on our continued progress together. This year's celebration will be held September 20, 21, and 22, 2013
celebrates the bond between the Union Pacific Railroad, its employees and
our community. It focuses on what the men and women of the Union Pacific
Railroad have been working toward for almost 5 generations.
In the Midwest, high-speed rail re-ignites manufacturing
Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo - Feb. 20, 2013
In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama called on us to reignite the engine of economic growth. Here at DOT, we know that investing in America's transportation infrastructure is one way to jump-start that economic engine--through the construction and engineering jobs created right away and through the efficiencies modern infrastructure provides to our nation's businesses.
To see an example of this in action, we need look no further than our own Midwest, where U.S. high-speed rail investments are already boosting economic activity, and where 460 different companies are poised to contribute to the rail supply chain and modernize passenger rail in America.
That means manufacturing growth; it means modernized old-line plants; and it means jobs.
Click here to read the full article.
Advocates seek state support for Omaha-Chicago passenger train
Lincoln Journal-Star -- February 16, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Rail advocates haven't given up hopes of a passenger train resurgence that would link Chicago to Iowa City, Des Moines and Omaha, but questions about the need for government subsidies continue to bog down efforts.
Supporters of enhanced passenger service spoke out last week at the Iowa Statehouse, backed by the president of the Iowa Northern Railroad. They argued for plans to make the infrastructure improvements needed to start passenger service between Chicago and Iowa City, with hopes of later extending trains to Des Moines and Omaha.
Federal transportation officials committed $230 million in late 2010, with the condition that the Iowa and Illinois state governments would help pay for the project. Illinois has come up with money, and plans are moving ahead for extending passenger service to Moline, Ill., across the Mississippi River from Davenport, Iowa.
Paris Ervin, spokeswoman for of the Illinois Department of Transportation, said Illinois agreed to spend $45 million and plans to start service in late 2015.
Advocates argue expanded passenger service is worth the money, but Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has remained skeptical and since 2010 has opposed the needed state match to qualify for federal funding. Asked about spending state money on rail projects, Branstad didn't sound as though he'd changed his mind.
Click here to read the full article.
officials promote passenger line from Bluffs to Chicago
By Andrew J.
Nelson / World-Herald staff writer , Feb. 1, 2013
, Feb. 1, 2013
COUNCIL BLUFFS — The day after a snowstorm brought much travel to a halt,
a rail official from Maine made a timely case for passenger rail: Trains cut
through snow much better than a car.
“Sometimes it's hard to drive. And when the
airports close and the roads really aren't very good, there's not much that
is going to stop those P42 locomotives,” said Patricia Quinn, executive
director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.
About 50 people attended a meeting Thursday
afternoon in Council Bluffs promoting passenger rail between the Omaha area
Click here to read the full article
say time is running out for passenger rail funds
Saturday, December 29, 2012
CITY (AP) — Time is running out for Iowa to take advantage of federal
funding to expand passenger rail service in the state, according to
advocates for a project that's at a standstill.
Democratic leaders say millions of dollars in federal funding approved more
than two years ago for a passenger rail line between Iowa City and Chicago
remain untapped because the Legislature won't agree on matching funds.
clock is ticking, and this year is it,” said Rep. Dave Jacoby,
may not have fiscal fuel for Chicago-Council Bluffs train
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
COUNCIL BLUFFS — It's an intriguing proposal —
a faster train that zips from Council Bluffs to Chicago in less than 7½
The train — whose route could extend west to
Omaha — would make numerous stops across Iowa, including in Atlantic, Des
Moines, Grinnell and Iowa City.
But the idea has been slow to pick up steam.
Whether the line ever gets built may hinge on
whether Iowa's governor and State Legislature can be convinced that the
project is economically feasible.
“Basically, what it boils down to is we need the
state money in order to move forward,” said Amanda Martin, policy
coordinator of the Iowa Office of Rail Transportation.
Click here to read the full article which includes several nice maps.
rail across Iowa could attract 1.3 million riders
December 14, 2012
MOINES, Iowa – A proposed high speed rail corridor between Chicago and
Omaha, Neb., would attract 1.3 million passengers a year, reports the Des
Moines Register. The planned route would serve Iowa City, Des Moines, and
Council Bluffs. The state of Illinois is starting new Chicago to Quad Cities
service in 2015.
in the state recently refused to provide $20.6 million in matching funds to
secure an $87 million federal grant awarded in 2010 to extend the
Illinois-sponsored service to Iowa City. The current study, provided by HDC
Corp. of Omaha, cost $2 million and examined an incremental approach to
adding rail service.
would start operating at 79 mph, with an eventual 5 daily round trips
operating at 110 mph. Train travel between Chicago and Omaha would take 6.5
hours, compared to 9.5 hours by car.
trains would use Iowa Interstate Railroad tracks west of a connection with
BNSF Railway at Buda, Ill. The former Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
route is the only east-west route to serve Des Moines, the state's largest
city and its capitol.
month, Henry Posner III, chairman of Iowa Interstate and of its parent
company Railroad Development Corp. told KCRG-TV, “The railroad is more
than willing to work with Amtrak, the states, or anybody else that’s
involved in passenger service. Our main business is freight, but one of the
benefits of being a railroad is you can do more than one thing at
Amtrak's daily California
Zephyr currently operates between Chicago and Omaha on a nine hour schedule.
The train runs over BNSF Railway and misses Des Moines, instead stopping at
Osceola, 50 miles south.
Omaha-Chicago rail line would outrace California Zephyr
Thursday, December 13, 2012
BLUFFS — About 25 people attended a hearing Thursday on a proposed
passenger rail line between Omaha and Chicago.
questioned the wisdom of spending large amounts of money on a new passenger
rail system. Others spoke in support, touting the proposed rail line’s
potential environmental benefits, such as reducing vehicle emissions and
is not yet a cost estimate or timeline for completing the project, which
would use existing rail lines.
project that a train trip would take about 7½ hours from Omaha to Chicago,
with speeds reaching 110 mph at times. Officials are considering five
round-trips per day between Omaha and Chicago, and seven between Des Moines
plans for the rail line call for stops in Omaha, Council Bluffs, Atlantic,
Des Moines, Grinnell and Iowa City.
proposed route is designed to be faster than Amtrak’s California Zephyr,
which travels from Chicago to the San Francisco Bay Area with a stop in
Omaha. Zephyr speeds are limited to 79 mph.
learn more, go to iowadot.gov/chicagotoomaha/
and click the link for an online, self-directed meeting.
ProRail Nebraska Updates Its Objectives
October 19, 2012
Mission: PRN is a member organization that exists to advocate for improved passenger rail transportation serving Nebraska. It is an affiliate of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP), which advocates passenger rail service on a national basis. Our proposed priority objectives are:
is a member of the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC), an
association made up of officials appointed by the Governor of ten states in
the Midwest. Nebraska’s representatives include two State Senators and two
public representatives. MIPRC’s purpose is to coordinate development of
passenger rail service in the several Midwest states. Nebraska has not paid
annual MIPRC dues ($15,000) for three years and has not taken an active role
in this organization. PRN advocates Nebraska’s full and active
participation in MIPRC.
State of Iowa’s DOT is designing the establishment of a second Chicago –
Iowa train service which would be routed through Des Moines and would
terminate in Council Bluffs. PRN
advocates that this line be established to include service though Omaha
terminating in Lincoln. We encourage the State of Nebraska and the
cities of Omaha and Lincoln actively support this Iowa DOT project to
include a Nebraska extension.
4. (Stations) PRN advocates for the expansion of the use and accessibility of the AMTRAK stations in the state as hubs for all surface public and private passenger transportation systems.
6. (OMA/LNK to KC) PRN advocates for the creation of a passenger rail line from Omaha and Lincoln to Kansas City. The states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri currently are studying and undertaking a passenger line that would connect Dallas-Fort Worth through Oklahoma City/Tulsa and Newton, KS to Kansas City. We encourage the State of Nebraska and the cities of Omaha and Lincoln to actively support and participate in this project to include its extension to Nebraska.
7. (OMA/LNK Commuter) The urban region of Lincoln and Omaha contain the major population centers and growth in Nebraska. PRN advocates establishing commuter public transportation service including commuter trains for this urban region. The State of Nebraska needs to restudy the feasibility for such commuter service.
Click here for a printer-friendly version.
Opposition to trains nonsensical
By Richard L. Schmeling, PRN Member, Lincoln
It appears that Republicans have declared war on passenger trains. Mitt Romney, who comes from a state with extensive Amtrak service and lots of commuter rail lines to relieve congestion on the area roads, said while campaigning that he will cut Amtrak's budget to zero if elected president.
A Nebraska state senator has introduced a bill to withdraw Nebraska from the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact even though the cost is less than nominal to belong. Sen. Mike Johanns can't see the value in having a nice modern, high-speed passenger train from Chicago to Omaha.
Perhaps this is because Republicans think all citizens are rich and want to fly. This is certainly not the case. With the security hassle and airport terminal congestion, a train from Chicago to Omaha and perhaps on to Lincoln is certainly a wise transportation alternative that should be promoted -- especially with gasoline approaching $4 a gallon.
I'm not going to vote for any Republicans who talk such nonsense as not supporting rail passenger service, and I urge other voters to do likewise.
We think trains need more prominence in the U.S. because:
(above courtesy National Association of Railroad Passengers)
ALL ABOARD FOR PRORAIL NEBRASKA!
JOIN PRORAIL NEBRASKA!
ProRail Nebraska e-mail list on Yahoo! Groups
Click to subscribe to ProRailNebraska
Web space provided by TrainWeb