KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Springfield-area travelers could someday see more passenger rail options, including routes to St. Joseph and Springfield.
The Missouri Department of Transportation has submitted four applications to the Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor ID program. The state is requesting $500,000 in federal funding to study future Amtrak passenger rail lines.
In a 2022 letter to the FRA, MoDOT identified four corridors, including the existing Missouri River Runner line and three potential lines.
The state would like to improve the existing Amtrak route from Kansas City to St. Louis by adding another daily round trip and new stops. The Missouri River Runner already has two daily round trips and eight stops.
MoDOT is also interested in creating new Amtrak routes from Kansas City to Springfield/Branson and from Kansas City to St. Joseph.
The agency said both these areas are not currently served by Amtrak. In southwest Missouri, which includes Missouri’s third largest city, MoDOT said the closest Amtrak station is more than 100 miles away.
The agency also wants to extend an existing corridor from Chicago to Quincy, Illinois, into Hannibal, Missouri.
A spokesperson for MoDOT said communities across the state have identified these four corridors for years, and they are currently unfunded.
In the letter to the FRA, Missouri also expressed interest in partnering with Minnesota and Iowa for a potential Minneapolis-Des Moines-Kansas City corridor.
A MoDOT spokesperson said the agency hopes to hear from the FRA on whether the state will receive a grant, or multiple grants for multiple corridors, by the end of the year.
MoDOT has already included $76 million in federal funding and $38 million in state funding in its 2025 fiscal year budget request as a placeholder in case any of these projects are able to move forward, according to the spokesperson.