Question: The infrastructure plan just passed by Congress is the largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak in 1971. How will this impact proposals to reinstate passenger rail service from Chicago to Dubuque?

Answer: It’s still unclear if the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law Nov. 15, will impact Dubuque specifically, but it does support similar projects.

The act dedicates $66 billion for rail projects, including $12 billion in grants for intercity rail service.

The law also calls for a study to evaluate the restoration of daily intercity rail passenger service along discontinued Amtrak routes. Factors for consideration include linking and serving large and small communities as part of a regional rail network, advancing the economic and social well-being of rural areas and reflecting public engagement and local support.

From 1974 to 1981, the Black Hawk Amtrak line ran between Chicago and Dubuque.

Local advocates for passenger rail are hopeful about the potential of the infrastructure act and how it might spark further support for passenger rail projects.

“We’re excited about it,” Ride the Rail co-chair Douglas Spyrison said.

Ride the Rail is a citizen advocacy group focused on reviving passenger rail service from Chicago to Dubuque.

“Hopefully this infrastructure spending will help with a lot of rail projects and we’re hoping to see some of that here,” Spyrison said.

A Dubuque line would not contribute significantly to ridership within an interstate network, according to a recent study of the Midwest passenger rail system, though advocates believe it would have local benefits to the tri-states.

The Dubuque Metropolitan Area Transportation Study is also conducting a study on the feasibility and costs of resurrecting the route.

Question: How are wind speeds measured?

Answer: The National Weather Service measures wind speeds using the Automated Surface Observatory System program.

The system includes a device atop a 10 meter pole, high enough to ensure the wind isn’t blocked by structures or obstacles on the ground, NWS Quad Cities meteorologist David Cousins said.

Measures are taken every five seconds and then calculated into two-minute averages showing wind speed and direction.

In the Dubuque area, measurements are taken at the Dubuque Regional Airport.

Doppler radar scans can also show wind speed and direction.

Recommended for you