The Amtrak route between St. Louis and Kansas City, which makes a stop in Washington, is expected to keep running with a new payment and service level agreement.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told The Missourian Wednesday morning that recent media reports about the service being in jeopardy have been overblown.

Amtrak operates the route under a contract with the state, which is subject to legislative appropriation each year.

“We have every reason to believe we will continue our current level of service and we look forward to growing the network in Missouri,” he said.

The route in question is the Missouri River Runner which has two eastbound and two westbound trains daily.

Magliari said effective Oct. 1 Amtrak won’t be able to use its federal operating grant to help share the cost of routes that are shorter than 750 miles with states, due to the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which Congress passed in 2008.

“Since Congress passed this act, which essentially says the states we service have to pick up more of the costs, we’ve been working on a new costing formula,” he said. “It took about two years to get the formula and since then we’ve been working with the states on every piece of the service.”

Amtrak has service in more than a dozen states, said Magliari, who believes it’s that approaching deadline that is causing people to panic about the service ending.

“We are continuing to meet with states and have not come across a situation yet that service has been stopped,” he said. “The starting point in the negotiations is maintaining the current level of service.”

See the full story in the Weekend Missourian.