Missourians have a chance to weigh in on the future of the state’s rail service.

The Missouri Department of Transportation is asking Missourians to spare a few minutes to give their opinions on what the state should or shouldn’t be doing in relation to rail service. Administrator of Railroads Rod Massman says the survey will be available online for about a year. Follow this link to participate.

“There’s a lot of questions about passenger rail. Should we even keep the current system that we have? If so, should we expand it? Should we look at other cities that aren’t currently served? Those kinds of questions,” Massman said.

The survey also branches out to ask questions about freight rail service.

“Should we invest public dollars in solely freight rail line so that you can remove goods and other types of transportation-related items off highways and put them on rail? Would that be something that the public would support?” Massman said.

The survey also asks Missourians to rank which improvements they think are most necessary and asks how they think rail efforts should be funded.

“It’s very important to get a gauge from the public. Especially in this day and age when not only transportation dollars but dollars from every government program out there are limited,” Massman said.

MODOT plans to have its new state rail plan completed about a year from now. It will be the first such plan in about a decade.

“What we get from the survey is one of the things we’re going to use to form the public input part of the rail plan. Meaning, do we sense a real interest in these types of rail issues?” Massman said.

Massman says another motivation for the survey is that public input is a requirement for many high speed rail passenger grants the federal government expects to award in the coming years.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [1 min MP3]