The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri Central Railroad received a negotiation extension for the Rock Island Line Corridor.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board approved a request on Wednesday submitted by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri Central Railroad seeking an additional 133 days to negotiate an agreement to railbank 144 miles of the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad corridor stretching from Windsor to Beaufort, Missouri.

“This will allow the time for potential partnerships to be explored and developed by the Missouri State Park Foundation," said Mike Sutherland, deputy division director of Missouri State Parks. "We are glad the Surface Transportation Board has granted the time to fully explore interest.”

The extension request emphasized the creation of the Rock Island Trail State Park Endowment Fund, which allows deposited funds to be used by the Department in securing and assessing the corridor, according to the Department of Natural Resources on Wednesday.  

The Missouri State Park Foundation's fundraising strategy for the project requires time to finalize plans with the request reiterating that Missouri State Parks and Missouri Central Railroad Company are working toward the goal of signing an Interim Trail Use Agreement in the future.

“We are excited for the Missouri State Park Foundation to take a role in developing support for the project," said Dru Buntin, deputy director of the Department of Natural Resources. "The foundation will be critical in bringing together the non-governmental partners that an undertaking of this size will require.” 

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Central Railroad Company now have until Dec. 31, 2019, to enter into an Interim Trail Use Agreement and provide notice of that agreement to the Surface Transportation Board.