FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/26/06 State rail passenger group to meet in Iowa City area

Coralville, Iowa - The Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers will meet Saturday, January 20, 2007, in the Iowa City area. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Edge Restaurant, 807 First Avenue, Coralville, Iowa ( 319-337-5680.

Various local, state and federal officials are being invited to address the group.

Other speakers at the meeting are expected to include Patrick "Pat" Hendricks, President of the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers; Richard F. “Dick” Welch, member of the Advisory Board of the National Association of Railroad Passengers and former Region 10 Director.

Topics to be discussed will include the current status of federal legislation supporting the national rail passenger system and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak).

Additional topics include the progress on the nine-state Midwest Regional Rail Initiative which includes Iowa and the potentially 12 state Midwest Regional Rail Commission which supports the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative.

More updates will include the Cedar Rapids Light Rail Initiative Committee which is working toward the formation of the four-county Cedar-Iowa River Rail Transit Corridor Project and what the committee is doing to make this project happen. The project would link Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Amana with an excursion trolley and eventual commuter rail service. The consultant's report was delivered in December, 2006.

Elections will be held at the meeting for officers and one board position of the state group.

Hendricks says the public is invited, welcomed and encouraged to attend the program and meeting.

Hendricks says the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers is a state-wide non-profit, non-partisan group that supports rail service, both passenger and freight. Hendricks says the group meets at various locations throughout the state. Previous recent meeting sites have included: Marshalltown, Grinnell, Little Amana, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines.

Attendees may enjoy an optional lunch buffet at 11:30 a.m. The program and business meeting will start at 1:00 p.m. Meals will be paid for by each individual participating in the lunch.

Hendricks says that, although not directly affiliated with the National Association of Railroad Passengers, the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers is supportive of the goals of the national group.

Membership information is available by writing to the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers, 3349 Southgate Court, SW, Suite #108, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404-5424 or by calling (319) 362-6824 or going to the association's Website at