Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study open house public hearings announced


November 27th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Transportation, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration and Illinois Department of Transportation, has announced the scheduling of in-person public hearings and online, self-directed meetings for the Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study.Public input will be sought on the Draft Tier 1 Service Level Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), including the project’s purpose and need, all reasonable alternatives, the affected environment, and the potential environmental impacts of the alternatives considered. The basis for recommendation of the preferred route alternative will be presented.

Earlier this month, Atlantic’s City Administrator Doug Harris, told the City Council the community is still in the running as one of the towns the passenger train might pass through on its way to Omaha from Chicago. Preliminary reports, including environmental documents with exhibits and maps, will be available for review. Each public hearing and online meeting will contain the same presented information, so individuals can attend in-person at the public hearing, or view and comment at the online meeting. Officials are encouraging all those interested to participate. The public hearings will be conducted the week of Dec. 11, 2012, using a combined informal open forum and formal format. Iowa DOT staff will be available to discuss the project informally between 4- and 5:30-p.m. A formal presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session concluding at 7-p.m.

The public is invited to attend the open house public hearing to be held in Des Moines, on Wednesday, Dec. 12th, at the Des Moines Botanical Center, and in Council Bluffs, on Thursday, Dec. 13th, at the Council Bluffs Public Library (400 Willow Ave.), Conference Room A/B.  An online, self-directed open house public hearing will be available through Dec. 26, 2012, on the study’s website at Information included on this website will be identical to the presentation made at the in-person meetings.

Comments on the Draft Tier 1 EIS can be provided in multiple ways through Dec. 26th, 2012, to be considered part of the official public comment record: Leave a comment on the study website. Submit a comment at any of the in-person open house public hearings. You can also E-mail a comment to  Call the study’s toll-free information line at 800-488-7119 to obtain printed hearing materials.