Establishing Passenger Rail between Chicago and Iowa City

As part of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MWRRI), the Iowa and Illinois departments of Transportation have been evaluating specific alternative routes to establish passenger rail connections between Chicago and Iowa City.

In 2009, these alternatives underwent a thorough environmental assessment (EA) to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).


The EA evaluates the proposed routes for their potential impacts on the human, natural and economic environment along the corridors. It was submitted to the FRA on October 23, 2009 along with a summary of comments received on the EA.

As part of the Illinois DOT and Iowa DOT 2010 HSIPR Grant application for the Chicago to Iowa City Service, FRA requested additional analysis of the potential impacts associated with construction and operation of the Eola Main Line Improvements and the Wyanet Connection to supplement the September 2009 Service Level EA. The Supplement to the Tier 1 Service Level Environmental Assessment provides supplemental information to the September 2009 Service Level EA as well as additional analysis of the potential impacts of Eola Main Line Improvements and the Wyanet Connection. In addition, this document includes errata to the September 2009 Service Level EA and updates some of the information in the September 2009 Service Level EA.

Public Comment Period

A public information meeting was held on September 29, 2009 to share findings of the EA of the proposed route and gather public input. Materials from the meeting, as well as comments on the EA and associated responses, can be found on the Resources page.