WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — President Biden announced Thursday that a deal has been made to pass the infrastructure bill that has been making headlines for months.
One part of that plan includes $65 million for passenger rail services. This potential funding would position Amtrak to make it’s long awaited return to Wichita.
From Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple, to Amtrak, and to the current owners of Union Station (Occidental Management), locally everyone seems onboard for this expansion.
“Everyone is in favor of this,” explained Mayor Whipple. “We just have to make sure that it goes through. All of us use our resources in Washington and with any luck we will actually bring Amtrak back to Wichita.”
The Heartland Flyer Route expansion would potentially connect Wichita to Texas for the first time in decades. If approved, it would also connect Wichita to Newton and the rest of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.
“Currently, the link between Newton and Oklahoma City is actually handled by bus and it runs pretty full at times” said Harvey County Commissioner Chip Westfall. “This is a positive.”
Westfall believes it could be a windfall for the region.
“Any college that is within 30-minutes to an hour of an Amtrak station or rail passenger station will see an increase of students from out of the region so we’re going to see an economic boom that way.”