Chicago to Council Bluffs-Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study
Environmental Impact Statement
FRA is the lead federal agency and the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) is the joint-lead state agency for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Chicago to Council Bluffs-Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study. The Draft EIS public review and comment period begins on November 9, 2012 and ends on December 26, 2012.
The EIS addresses implementing the Chicago to Iowa City service as an incremental measure to implement Chicago to Council Bluffs-Omaha service. The Draft EIS evaluates six potential route alternatives between Chicago and Council Bluffs-Omaha, shown in this map.
Route 1: Canadian National through Rockford, Dubuque, Waterloo and Ft. Dodge;
Route 2: Union Pacific through DeKalb, Clinton, Cedar Rapids and Ames;
Route 3: Canadian Pacific through Elgin and Savanna;
Route 4: CSX/Iowa Interstate through Joliet, Moline, Iowa City, Des Moines;
Route 4-A: BNSF/Iowa Interstate through Naperville, Moline, Iowa City and Des Moines;
Route 5: BNSF through Naperville, Galesburg, Burlington, Osceola; and
No‐Build: Alternative a baseline for environmental analysis.
Route Alternative 4-A
Route Alternative 4-A has been identified as the only reasonable and feasible alternative to carry forward in the EIS process. Route 4-A meets the purpose and need; has low construction complexity and low construction costs; has modest grade crossing complexity; does not require a new bridge over the Mississippi River; is the shortest route alternative, serves a large population; and has direct connection to Chicago’s Union Station.
Relationship to Quad Cities
In October 2011, FRA agreed to a phased implementation approach for the Chicago to Iowa City corridor. Illinois DOT is proceeding with the Tier 2 project-level studies for the portion of the corridor extending from Chicago to the Quad Cities.
Review and Comment
There is a 45-day review and comment period from November 9, to December 26, 2012.
Comments on the Draft EIS may be submitted in the following ways:
- By mail to Amanda Martin, Freight and Passenger Rail Policy Coordinator, Iowa Department of Transportation, 800 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa 50010;
- Electronically through the Chicago to Omaha Regional Passenger Rail System Planning Study website at www.iowadot.gov/chicagotoomaha/ or to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Draft EIS” in the Subject line;
- By recorded voice mail at the Study’s toll-free information line at 800-488-7119; or
- Orally or in writing at the three public hearings, conducted along the corridor between 4 and 7 p.m. the week of December 10th. Project staff will be available to discuss the Study, answer questions, and take comments at the following locations:
- Tuesday, December 11th , Chicago Union Station, 500 W. Jackson St., Great Hall Gallery, Chicago, Illinois;
- Wednesday, December 12th, Des Moines Botanical Center, 909 Robert D. Ray Drive, Oak/Willow Room, Des Moines, Iowa; and
- Thursday, December 13th, Council Bluffs Public Library, 400 Willow Ave., Conference Room A/B, Council Bluffs, Iowa.
For a list of libraries where the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is available for review: List of Libraries
Draft EIS documents for download:
(Note: many of these files are very large and could take up to several minutes to download.)