For Immediate Release 09/14/00     

Rail Passenger Group Urges Support of Midwest Rail System

(Urbandale, Iowa)--The President of the Iowa Association of Railroad
Passengers said today that Mark Wandro, Director of the Iowa Department of
Transportation, should continue to study the issue of high-speed rail
before making his final recommendation to IDOT commissioners.  

Henry Wulff of Urbandale said, "It's important that Mr. Wandro consider the
long-term impact of ending Iowa's high-speed rail at Iowa City.  Cities
like Grinnell, Newton, Des Moines, Atlantic and Council Bluffs would never
have fast, efficient railroad passenger service.  Ten years from now these
cities will either be a part of a vast Midwest High-Speed Rail network, or
they will be separate from all the Midwestern cities which will benefit
from this rail connection."

Over the next decade the nine Midwestern states will develop a high-speed
passenger rail network that will connect cities from Minneapolis to
Cincinnati and Cleveland to Kansas City.  The proposed route through
central Iowa would connect the previously named Iowa cities to Chicago and
Omaha, as well as to the rest of the system.  Three to five trains a day,
each way, are planned for the completed system.

Wulff cited three reasons why high-speed passenger rail is important to
central and western Iowa.  It would enhance freight service by providing
improved rail and roadbed, giving shippers along this route the same
opportunity for fast, efficient freight service that other Iowa shippers
enjoy.  Secondly, it would allow central and western Iowans the same
opportunity to travel throughout the Midwest that residents of the
connected communities would enjoy.  Thirdly, it has the potential to make
Des Moines a rail hub in the event that a passenger rail route from
Minneapolis to Kansas City becomes a reality.

Wulff concluded by asking, "Can we really afford to be the only part of the
Midwest that will not be connected to the high-speed rail network?  Ten
years from now, will we be fighting to keep passenger rail in the same way
we are fighting to keep airline passenger service today?  It is time to be
bold in our vision for Iowa.  And that vision has to include an all- Iowa
connection to high-speed passenger rail."

The Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers is a statewide, non-profit
citizens' organization which supports rail passenger service--both
commercial and tourist service. IARP supports a solid rail infrastructure,
quality freight service by rail and intermodal. The group was formed in
1981 to strengthen the voice of the rail user in Iowa. The group meets at
various locations throughout the state. 

The organization is affiliated with the National Association of Railroad
Passengers in Washington, D.C. 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)