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Eight Midwestern states have submitted applications totaling $11.6 billion for high-speed and intercity passenger rail stimulus funds to the Federal Railroad Administration, according to the Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC).
The states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin applied for nearly $10 billion in Track 2 funding to fully develop high-speed rail corridors and purchase train sets, as well as $1.6 billion in project and planning grant applications that were submitted Aug. 24.
On Oct. 2, MIPRC submitted a letter to FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo explaining the benefits of the Midwest's two multi-state initiatives, the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative and the Ohio Hub. The two initiatives have been planned by the states for more than a dozen years, and the build-out of the systems would result in more than $30 billion in planned economic benefits to the region, while creating an average of 20,000 jobs annually during constructing and 75,000 permanent new jobs, MIPRC said.
In addition, the commission asked the FRA to consider the following when awarding the $8 billion in high-speed stimulus funds: that priority be given to state/regional passenger-rail projects based on longevity of plan development; the funding assist in developing corridors that have regional/multi-state significance and benefits, as well as state and regional stakeholder support; and that application awards be provided for corridor planning and development, as well as for specific projects.
MIPRC is an interstate compact commission comprising 10 states that promotes, coordinates and supports regional improvements to passenger-rail service.