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Green Bay, Fox Cities seek extension of Amtrak line

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Could passenger trains return to Green Bay?

Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford’s office says city leaders from Green Bay, Kaukauna, Appleton, Menasha, Neenah, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac submitted a “joint letter of interest” to show their interest in add Amtrak train service in their cities through the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

That law created an initiative for Amtrak to identify and develop new corridors, and Amtrak has proposed three daily round-trips from Chicago to Green Bay with its Hiawatha line, which currently connects Chicago and Milwaukee.

Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac would have new stations along this proposed route. Currently, Kaukauna, Menasha, Neenah and Oshkosh are served by Amtrak’s bus service, Thruway I-41.

It’s estimated a trip from Green Bay to Milwaukee by train would take just under 3 hours, and it would reach Chicago in 4 hours, 20 minutes.

Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford wrote in a statement, “Extension of Amtrak service through the Fox Cities might provide another great transportation option for our residents…. Having access to rail transportation could also help our region compete for talent in an incredibly tight labor market .”

“Our region stands to benefit from this Amtrak connection,” Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich wrote. “Strengthening our ties among the communities of the New North should be a priority for us, and transportation is a key component of this effort.”

The Federal Railroad Administration says it will judge new routes on 14 criteria, including regional and state planning; costs; ridership trip times; the anticipated public benefit, particularly rural areas and underserved, low-income communities; and support from host railroads, operators, and communities.

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