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Eight governors and Chicago mayor team up to advance Midwest HSR corridor, form steering group with freight-rail stakeholders


Yesterday, eight Midwestern state governors and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced they reached an agreement to jointly solicit American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the “Chicago Hub” high-speed rail (HSR) corridor.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Daley signed the agreement, which is designed to coordinate each state’s individual application to the Federal Railroad Administration for ARRA funding to develop the corridor.

The Chicago Hub would feature trains traveling at speeds up to 110 mph across the Midwest and include connections to adjoining regional corridors.

“We are stronger working as a region than we are individually,” said Quinn in a prepared statement.

The governors and Daley also agreed to establish a multi-state steering group to help coordinate the ARRA funding applications and provide a “single voice” in support of the corridor, Quinn said. The group includes Amtrak Chairman Tom Carper; Union Pacific Railroad Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Young; CSX Corp. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tony Ingram; BNSF Railway Co. EVP of Law Roger Nober; Norfolk Southern Corp. VP John Friedmann; CN VP of American Government Affairs Karen Phillips; Kansas City Southern Railway Co. Assistant VP of State and Local Affairs Kevin McIntosh; and Association of American Railroads President and CEO Edward Hamberger.

The nation's freight railroads will work with the eight governors and Daley at the federal, state and local levels to advance HSR in the Midwest, said Hamberger in a statement.

Each HSR project should be assessed based on its own merits, taking into account freight traffic volume, terrain, the number of grade crossings involved and track configuration, he said. Agreements addressing liability, compensation and increased maintenance need to be approved prior to project planning and development, Hamberger believes.

"We are critical stakeholders that need to be engaged from the very beginning of project planning and development,” he said. “Passenger and freight efforts to grow and expand must complement, not compromise, one another.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/28/2009