TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Kansas City Area Transportation authority has applied for a $500,000 grant through the Federal Railroad Administration to study the idea of a intercity rail system.

If approved, this new rail system would serve 15 counties in the northeast Kansas and Kansas City metro area stemming from as far north as the Kansas City International Airport to as far south as Olathe, Kansas. It would go as far west as Topeka, all the way to Independence, Missouri. While the grant to help study this idea is not yet approved, Topeka Mayor Michael Padilla hopes the capital city will get to be part of the input if it comes together.

“I hope that there will be an opportunity to have some input for those taking the study because I think that will be essential in finding out how Topeka will utilize such a great opportunity to grow our population, grow our city and participate even more so in the northeast region of Kansas,” Mayor Padilla said.

Although it’s not known yet when the study would begin if approved, Padilla believes if it happens, it would open a new door for outsiders and show them how the capital city is growing.

“Bringing more people to what we have is essential,” Padilla said. “So transportation in any form, making it convenient and accessible would be a huge boon to allow us to bring people in, show them Topeka as it is now and the plans that we have for the future.”

While this potential rail system could be a great way to bring people into the capitol city, one Topeka native believes it would help with getting out as well.

“Often when I come to the airport, I usually ask a friend to take me so I don’t have to worry about the parking and pay bills for the parking lot,” Topeka native Sheryl Daniels said. “So it would be a very good addition I think.”

While Daniels believes it will help on bills and the inconvenience of phoning a friend, she also hopes it will change the way people think of Topeka.

“There have often been comments from Kansas City folks that Topeka is just a little small town, and I would hope that would change with this help.”

Again, this grant has not yet been approved and if it does, there are many moving parts after beginning the study. That includes more planning, followed by an examination and ending with implementation. According to one transit leader, if approved, it would be completed sometime after the 2026 World Cup.