MoDOT is hosting open houses on a 20-year strategic plan to further develop passenger and freight rail service in Missouri.
In Jefferson City, an open house will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday, with a 4:45 p.m. presentation at the MoDOT Central Office, conference room 100, 105 W. Capitol Ave.
Draft recommendations of the plan also call for completion of projects designed to improve the reliability of the state-supported Amtrak Missouri River Runner service, with a longer-term goal of adding more trains and schedule options to the route.
This service currently operates at 79 mph and with incremental improvements could travel as fast as 90 mph.
The plan also proposes a staged approach to establishing dedicated high-speed passenger rail service (110 mph or higher) between St. Louis and Kansas City and setting priorities for new corridor developments, such as service to Springfield and Hannibal and feeder bus routes to Branson, Columbia and St. Joseph.
Proposals to maximize the economic benefits of freight rail in coordination with the Missouri Department of Economic Development are also included.
As funding becomes available, the plan suggests identifying ways to encourage intermodal access at state ports by increasing capacity of existing tracks, industrial spurs and sidings and by supporting the development of additional rail access for industrial development.
The recommendations also include an array of policy proposals to better fund and encourage the continued development of Missouri's rail system.