Missouri will join the group of states lining up to get billions in newly available federal railroad funds. According to an announcement this afternoon from Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, the state will be applying for funds to improve rail lines between St. Louis and Kansas City and lay the groundwork for a dedicated high-speed rail line between the two cities in the future.
If granted, about $373 million of the federal funds will be used in the immediate future for significant improvements and upgrades to rail equipment and infrastructure. Another $600 million would be used over the longer term to complete necessary planning and design for building the separate, dedicated high-speed line across Missouri, and for purchasing necessary properties.
If approved, the work between St. Louis and Kansas City would complement new construction underway in Illinois to connect Chicago with St. Louis. The new round of applications comes as Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced he will make recently rejected funds available to other states. States have a deadline of April 4 to apply for the reallocated funds in a competitive process – the funds may be awarded among several applicants. Missouri has already received $32 million in federal funding for improvements to the St. Louis to Kansas City corridor.
“It would be a transformative step for Missouri, both in terms of the jobs created and in developing this mode of transportation between our state’s two largest metropolitan areas and the cities along the route, including the state capital,” Governor Nixon said of the project.