Tri States Public Radio Staff
Wed September 23, 2009
Midwestern Rail Czar Still Needed
Burlington, IA – Governor Chet Culver (D-IA) says he and his fellow Midwestern governors are still working to name a "Rail Czar."
Eight Midwestern states, including Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri, are working together to secure federal economic stimulus funds for passenger rail service. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has recommended the coalition name a point-person to oversee its effort.
Governor Chet Culver says each state has named its own rail czar. "I believe that group, including my point-person, Jim Larew from my office, will then proceed," says Culver, "and perhaps name someone from that group or from outside the group."
The Governor did not say when an official "rail czar" would be named.
Culver is confident a passenger rail corridor from Chicago to Iowa City will receive stimulus funds. He says the proposal for "green" rail lines, including the use of biodiesel fuel and paperless tickets, should also receive part of the $8-billion available.
Culver says, on the local level, more I-JOBS money will be made available for rail projects. One such endeavor could be the restoration of the Burlington Depot.
Iowa Governor Chet Culver made his comments during a recent stop in Burlington.