Missouri seeks $1 billion for train upgrades

Missouri seeks $1 billion for train upgrades

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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon
In an address at the Kirkwood Station, Gov. Jay Nixon (foreground) announces plans to pursue $1 billion in federal money to upgrade the rail lines between St. Louis and Kansas City. The governor's office estimates that the improvements will create 1,300 jobs, improve travel time and prepare for the building of a dedicated high-speed rail. Dawn Majors dmajors@post-dispatch.com

Missouri will seek nearly $1 billion in federal funds for projects aimed at making passenger trains run faster and more reliably through the state.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday announced the funding application for $373 million in immediate upgrades, including $150 million to replace the Merchant's Bridge near downtown St. Louis and $75 million to buy three new passenger train sets.

The state will seek an additional $600 million to study and begin acquiring property for a separate, future rail corridor between Kansas City and St. Louis. Amtrak trains currently share track with freight railroads.

"The design, planning and construction of this project would create high-paying jobs in communities across Missouri over the next several years and provide the necessary resources to prepare for construction of a dedicated high-speed passenger rail line," Nixon said.

The federal government has given states until April 4 to apply for the funds.

Missouri's application for immediate projects also includes $48.4 million to double-track the line between Lee's Summit and Pleasant Hill, Mo., to help trains run faster and an additional $10 million to double-track the line between Pleasant Hill and Jefferson City.

The application seeks $11 million for a new Jefferson City station; $11.6 million for a "passing siding" in Kingsville, and $19.1 million to replace a bridge in Kansas City. It also includes crossovers and grade-separation projects that will help Amtrak trains stay on schedule.

Missouri so far has received about $37 million in federal funds to upgrade the St. Louis-to-Kansas City rail line.

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