Could Amtrak be on its way to Hannibal? MODOT asks for funds for preliminary study to extend Chicago to Quincy route


Pictured is the railroad crossing at the Hannibal riverfront. No passenger trains currently stop in Hannibal. | Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — The oncoming whistle of an Amtrak train might one day be heard on Hannibal’s side of the river.

Taylor Brune, assistant communications director at the Missouri Department of Transportation, confirmed Tuesday with Muddy River News that an application for $500,000 in federal funds has been submitted to hire a consultant to do a preliminary study of four potential future Amtrak lines. One of the new lines would be an extension to Hannibal of the already established Chicago to Quincy, Ill. route.

The other three are:

  • Improvement to the existing St. Louis to Kansas City corridor with the addition of one round trip and new stops.
  • Creation of a new corridor from Kansas City to Springfield/Branson, Mo.
  • Creation of a new corridor from Kansas City to St. Joseph, Mo.

CitySceneKC reported MODOT is seeking $38 million in general revenue from the state to apply for the additional Amtrak routes through the federal Corridor Identification and Development Program. The application also would include $76 million in federal funding, according to information presented by MoDOT to the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission at an August meeting in Chillicothe.

MODOT Director Patrick McKenna explained in a letter to Paul Nissembaum, associate administrator at the Office of Railroad Policy and development, that “Missouri would partner with the state of Illinois to extend Illinois’ existing state supported route.”

“This would provide rail service to a tourism dependent region of the state and connection to Amtrak’s Midwest hub,” he continued.

Funding would come from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, established in November 2021, authorizing $1.2 trillion for transportation and infrastructure and allowing $550 billion of that to go to “new” investments and programs.

Brune explained all four concepts have been identified by communities across the state for years and are currently identified as unfunded needs.   

Brune said he hopes a decision from the Federal Railroad Administration on whether Missouri will receive a grant(s) will be made by the end of the year.

The application to expand rail service comes when federal funding for Amtrak has increased under the Biden Administration. The recent federal infrastructure bill has $66 billion in new rail funding, including $22 billion earmarked for Amtrak.

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