SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Don’t expect any upgrades for passenger railroad service in South Dakota any time soon.
A possible expansion of Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, would include stops in 47 of the 48 continental United States. The lone state missing — South Dakota.
You can view the proposed plan in the document below. The light blue lines would be new routes created in the next 15 years.
On Wednesday, Amtrak announced a new 15-year plan called “Amtrak Connects US: A Vision to Grow Rail Service Across America.” It was announced shortly after President Joe Biden released details about his American Jobs Plan, which includes investments in infrastructure, economic recovery, climate change and $80 billion assigned for railroad services.
Congress would have to approve President Biden’s plan for the proposed new train routes to be created.
Currently, Amtrak services 500 destinations in 46 states, three Canidana Provinces and Washington D.C. Wyoming and South Dakota are left off the current Amtrak routes, but the new plan would create a new route in Colorado and would include Cheyenne, Wyo.
Marc Magliari, a spokesman for Amtrak, said Amtrak would welcome any discussion about bringing passenger rail services to South Dakota. He said Wednesday’s announcement of a possible new 15-year plan was not a final decision and it was “the start of a conversation.”
Magliari encouraged any new ideas and noted South Dakota’s railroads are controlled locally by the South Dakota Railroad Board, as part of the South Dakota Department of Transportation.
“When Amtrak started business in 1971, South Dakota was left off the map handed to us,” Magliari said.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem tweeted her displeasure with the Amtrak plan, while noting Alaska and Hawaii would also not benefit.
When asked about Gov. Noem’s criticism of Amtrak excluding Alaska and Hawaii along with South Dakota, Magliari said Hawaii has light-rail project in the works and noted Alaska already operates more than 470 miles of passenger train service.
The last railway-operated passenger train serving South Dakota was discontinued in 1969, according to the South Dakota State Railroad Board.