The Missouri Department of Transportation wants state funding to expand its Amtrak service, despite losing money on its statewide route from Kansas City to St. Louis.

The state has received $1 million in federal funding to help expand two proposed corridors – Hannibal to Quincy, IL, which runs to Chicago, and from St. Joseph to Kansas City.

MoDOT’s Patrick McKenna told a Missouri House budget subcommittee why he wants to expand the Missouri River Runner route, which currently runs twice a day.

“We do long range planning and we survey citizens from around the state and, in those long-range plans, we get feedback that our citizens around the state request additional mobility options,” he said. “One of those is Amtrak.”

The federal planning grants would also support a third daily trip of that line.

He told the subcommittee that expanding service from St. Joseph to Hannibal is an investment.

“We are getting a lot of positive response out of both communities that are being considered, here, for those planning grants, but that will give us a lot better information about what the potential ridership is and whether or not there would need to be an operating subsidy,” McKenna said.

In 2023, the Missouri River Runner had about 145,000 riders travel the Kansas City to St. Louis line.

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