Midwest Leaders Suggest They Deserve $3.5 Billion for HSR

Governors join together to sign letter to DOT Secretary LaHood seeking funds for a Midwest network, defining priorities

The Governors of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin, as well as the Mayor of Chicago, have come together to sign a letter (PDF) suggesting their interest in working together to implement a regional rail network shooting out from a hub in the Windy City. The first phase of the network, indicated in the image above, would include routes to St. Louis, Missouri; Madison, Wisconsin; and Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan. These are lines that their respective states have discussed before as priorities for development, and Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin have already begun working on preliminary engineering on their respective lines. This is the first time, however, we’ve seen these routes framed in terms of the Midwest Regional Rail Network as a whole.

The

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Illinois Begins Pushing Chicago to St. Louis Line

Chicago Business reports that Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois appeared at Chicago’s Union Station today to announce that he expected to receive $500 million of the $8 billion high-speed rail element of the stimulus package for upgrades to the Chicago to St. Louis line. Improvements along the corridor would allow trains to make the journey at 110 mph in four hours, down from 5h30 today. The Sun-Times reports that work would be completed by 2014 and that the project would be funded in part by private sources. This makes Illinois the second state after New York to announce a major corridor investment in rail dependent on the stimulus package.

Tip: Midwest High-Speed

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Intercity Rail in Texas, Ohio; Changes to Honolulu's Rail Plan

Ohio’s Governor Ted Strickland prioritizes new “3-C” rail connection between Cincinnati and Cleveland, through Columbus

In yesterday’s State of the State address, Governor Ted Strickland (D) announced that he’d be working towards the development of a new rail corridor – the 3C – between Cincinnati and Cleveland, via Dayton and Columbus, connecting the states’ four largest metropolitan areas and implementing the first phase 0f the Ohio Hub plan.

This will be the first time in forty years that Ohio’s major cities have been connected by rail – and will mark the first rail service for Columbus, the state capital, in decades. According to the Toledo Blade, however, residents of the state’s fifth largest metro area were a bit dismayed by the lack of proposed service for Toledo. On the other hand, the Ohio Hub’s second phase proposes improving the existing train line between Cleveland and Chicago, which would

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Midwest HSR News; Jerusalem and Virginia Beach LRT

Midwest High-Speed Rail Has Many Backers for Stimulus Funds in Wisconsin, but Controversy Abounds in Minnesota

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle wants to see federal stimulus money used for the Midwest High-Speed Rail program. Meeting in Milwaukee, the Governor suggested that a line would run from Chicago to Minneapolis, through Milwaukee and Madison, with a potential extension to Green Bay. Mr. Doyle seems to know a little something about transportation, eschewing the typical superficial arguments to point out that all forms of transportation are subsidized by the government, so a public investment in rail isn’t somehow inappropriate:

Just as we heavily subsidize our road transportation system, we subsidize heavily our air transportation system. I don’t think people should say rail is somehow not subject to subsidy when the others are.

We’re obviously happy to hear such clear language from a Governor, and we hope to see more such arguments as the push for

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  • by Yonah Freemark
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