Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Proposal eyes Amtrak service to Green Bay

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State officials and rail advocates in Iowa and Illinois have been lobbying for new Amtrak routes to add to the national rail passenger carrier’s Chicago hub. Now a similar effort in the Midwest, spearheaded by Appleton, Wis., representatives, seeks to restore passenger rail service to the state’s Fox Valley, connecting Green Bay, Wis., with Chicago.

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"We could transport people from here and get them connected to Chicago, one of the biggest economic engines in the country and the world. That's an incredibly powerful thing to have," said PaulLinzmeyer, president of the advocacy group NEWRails and a founder of New North, an economic development consortium of 18 northeastern Wisconsin counties.

Fox Valley last was served by passenger service Apr. 30, 1971; Amtrak’s launch the next day terminated all offerings to the region. Advocates say Amtrak could run on existing Canadian National right-of-way,stopping at Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac, terminating or originating in Green Bay.