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High speed rail explored in Mo.

(Reuters file Photo)

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, MO – Dozens of business and transportation officials met today in Jefferson City to explore ways to develop high-speed rail service in Missouri.

The Show-Me State is currently pursuing $200 million in federal funding for several rail projects that could pave the way for high-speed rail.

Brian Weiler of MoDOT indicates one crucial key is to upgrade the St. Louis to Kansas City rail line. That would enable Amtrak trains to increase their speeds to 90 miles an hour.

"As long as we do have a shared corridor with Union Pacific (and) we don't erode their freight-handling capability, we want them to maintain that...but I think if target investments are done properly, we can definitely get maybe to 90 (m.p.h.)," Weiler said.

But Weiler also says enabling rail lines to handle speeds higher than that would require more analysis and perhaps a new rail line altogether.