March 05, 2024

City Council Passes Resolution Supporting Passenger Rail Service Route Linking Rapid City to East/West Areas


RAPID CITY, SD (March 5, 2024)—At Monday night’s meeting, the Rapid City Council approved a resolution in support of bringing passenger rail service back to Rapid City.

            The Federal Railroad Administration last month identified several possible passenger rail routes in its ‘Proposed Network of Preferred Routes’.  One of the possible routes goes through South Dakota, connecting Rapid City to Sioux Falls and Minneapolis/St. Paul to the east and Cheyenne and Denver to the west. 

            The federal agency is accepting public comments on the proposed routes through this Friday.  The City Council’s resolution will be submitted as part of the public comment process.

            “The City supports the return of daily passenger rail service to our community and urges the Federal Railroad Administration and our state and federal representatives to support the proposed passenger rail route through South Dakota, including Rapid City,” cites Rapid City’s detailed one-page resolution.

            Council member Bill Evans petitioned the Council for the resolution and advocated for the resolution at last week’s Legal and Finance Committee meeting.

            “Many cities have already issued letters of resolution supporting efforts to bring passenger rail to this part of the country,” Evans told the committee last week.  “Cities include Fargo, Bismarck, Mandan, Casper, Bozeman, Missoula, going west to Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Cities like Yakima and Richmond.

            “It’s important that we show any kind of support we can muster for this effort.”

            Mayor Jason Salamun read the resolution into the record at Monday night’s meeting, adding “I can tell you I’ll be happy to sign this resolution.” 

            The Council unanimously adopted the resolution.

            The City’s resolution references the community’s 100-year history with passenger rail service that ended around 1960 due to increased competition with automobiles.  The resolution also emphasizes the significant positive economic impacts on Rapid City and the region, and promotes that long-distance passenger rail service in western South Dakota will connect smaller cities, communities and tribal lands - many in rural areas which have become increasingly isolated -- with larger cities. 

            Also referenced in the resolution is the energy efficiency of passenger rail, citing the US Department of Energy Data Book that travel by Amtrak train is 47 percent more energy efficient than traveling by car and 33 percent more energy efficient than domestic air travel.

            The approved resolution further states, “In addition to the benefit of connecting extremely rural communities in our area, including tribal lands, long-distance and intercity passenger rail service offers the promise of significant positive economic impact for our community.”

            A regional meeting regarding additional proposed routes is scheduled for this weekend.

 pdfResolution 2024-012 (69 KB)

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