In 2006, Envision 2010 - a community wide visioning process selected passenger rail service as one of the top 10 best ideas for the economic and social benefit of the greater Dubuque area.
The vision centers around the development of a passenger train service for business and pleasure travel in and out of Chicago.
Envision the Return of Passenger Rail to Dubuque
The reinstatement of passenger rail service from Chicago to Dubuque is one of the communities Envis10n 2010 priorities and it is closer than ever before to becoming a reality. Significant efforts by the Dubuque Passenger Rail Coalition, Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce Convention and Visitors Bureau, East Central Intergovernmental Agency, and the City of Dubuque are taking place to make sure that passenger rail returns to our community.
Passenger rail is a critical part of Dubuque's economic development, education and tourism effort. With gas prices at an all time high and access to the community in high demand, passenger rail will fill a much needed transportation and tourism need.
With over 5 million visitors coming to the 9 county area that makes up the Tri-state region, this area has through its tourism destination product and marketing created a place where visitors from all over the region, nation and world come to see the Mississippi River. Visitor spending to this area now exceeds $752 million! Visitors will see the availability of passenger rail as not only a form of affordable transportation but as an attraction.
In addition to visitor traffic, students coming from all area colleges and universities will gladly utilize this form of transportation. With students coming from Chicago to Loras College, Clarke College, University of Dubuque, Emmaus Bible College, University of Wisconsin Platteville, and the University of Northern Iowa there is significant demand created by the student population for service between Chicago and Dubuque.
Recent efforts to develop the route include the passage of the Illinois capital bill including $60 million to improve track between Chicago and Dubuque to allow the passenger train to travel at speeds up to 79 mph. This will in turn allow the daily route to run at approximately 3hrs. 10 mins.