Fox 4 out of Kansas City reports that the Missouri Department of Transportation has been awarded two grants of $500,000 from the Federal Railroad Administration's Corridor ID program to study future Amtrak rail lines in Missouri.

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Routes Being Studied

MoDOT wants to look at a corridor that connects Kansas City to St. Joseph, the expansion of the corridor between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois into Hannibal, Missouri. As well as adding another round trip daily, as well as new stops, on the Missouri River Runner between Kansas City and St. Louis

A MoDOT spokesman told Fox earlier in the year that communities across the state have identified these corridors for years, and they are currently unfunded.

The Route Expansions Make Perfect Sense

While I can't personally speak to Kansas City - St. Joseph service, I can speak to the Missouri River Runner expansion, and the extension of service from Quincy into Hannibal, Missouri.

As someone who has ridden the Missouri River Runner / Lincoln Service train between Kansas City and Chicago, I think a third train between St. Louis and Kansas City daily is necessary. I was impressed with the ridership between Kansas City - Chicago on my trip and the KC to St. Louis part of the ride was as busy as the Chicago-St. Louis trip.

Not to mention, more options that allow a one-day round trip between intermediate stops and St. Louis or Kansas City is a good thing as well.

As for the extension of service from Quincy to Hannibal, that just makes sense to me.

Potential Problems

Of course, there could be some problems that crop up along the way. First, the Missouri Legislature doesn't always seem to fund Missouri's rail service adequately. There have been times when the Missouri River Runner has only run once a day because the legislature hasn't budgeted enough money to run the service.

So my first thought is that there are two $500,000 grants to study the service, but will the Missouri Legislature budget the money to run the new services?

Second, is the Union Pacific, whose rails the Missouri River Runner runs on. They'd need to play ball with Amtrak and MoDOT to schedule that third-round trip between Kansas City and St. Louis, they may not want to do this if it interferes with the number of freight trains that run on the line.

I hope that the MoDOT studies go well and that these new train routes get funded in Missouri. Because, certainly, along the Missouri River Runner's route, the towns support it, and there certainly seems to be an appetite for it.

According to Fox 4, MoDOT has already included $76 million in federal funding and $38 million in state funding in its 2025 fiscal year budget request as a placeholder in case any of the projects move forward.

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