LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Wisconsin is considering the possibility of sending two additional Amtrak trains through La Crosse each day, barring the results of a study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
It's been a conversation in the works for years, said John Parkyn, president of the Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers, or WisARP.
The Amtrak train travels twice through La Crosse's train station each day. One heads east toward Chicago, the other heads west toward Minneapolis/St. Paul.
"If you're in business, it then becomes an option to have a meeting somewhere and not have to fly, rent a hotel room, all the expenses that go with it. So La Crosse is in a good spot to benefit from that second train," Parkyn said.
With airfare prices rising, riding the train is a quick and cheaper mode of transportation, according to Parkyn.
The Empire Builder Line, the one that passes through La Crosse, is one of Amtrak's most traveled trains, he added.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said they're cooperating with a Minnesota-led study with Amtrak to see if adding a second train is feasible.
Right now they're estimating the number of riders, revenue, operating costs and the cost for updating infrastructure.
"So we're looking into it. We don't know if it's feasible or not, but this study will evaluate that," said Arun Rao, passenger rail manager for WisDOT.
Hundreds of locals have also showed their support for the project by signing petitions asking for another roundtrip train that stops in the city.
Parkyn hears their concerns.
"People, like myself, who have to go to the Twin Cities a lot and back, we drive. Sometimes we take the train instead. Right now that's not an option," he said. "Out east it allows you a lot more connections."
But those connections are on hold until this study's completed.
The feasibility study should be completed by the beginning of next year.
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