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ASHLAND - The Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission met with MoDot Wednesday to discuss improvements to railways in the Mid-Missouri area.

MoDot Administrator of Railroads, Eric Curtit, presented the improvements that MoDot is making to Mid-Missouri railways and around the state. The main improvement in Mid-Missouri is the addition of a railway track to the Osage River Bridge near Jefferson City. According to Curtit, it is the last track area between St. Louis and Jefferson City that only has one track. Adding another track will cost around $25 million, down from an original projection of $28 million. The project is slated to be completed in September 2013.

MoDot's research this year has shown that train ridership is up for both Mid-Missouri and for Missouri overall. Ridership is up 46 percent across Missouri, and 74 percent on the Missouri River Runner Railway. Curtit attributes this to adding side tracks in the California area.

"The ridership is up because of on-time performance," said Curtit. "In 2007 our on-time performance was 63 percent, and since we've added siding (tracks) in California, our on-time performance is now up to 90 percent."

In 2007, 110,000 people rode the Missouri River Runner. Last year's survey showed more than 190,000 riders.