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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Eight governors, Chicago mayor call on USDOT to back Midwest high-speed rail system


The governors of eight Midwestern states and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley recently sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seeking federal support for a regional high-speed rail network that would link Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago.

The letter was signed by governors Pat Quinn (Illinois), Mitch Daniels (Indiana), Chet Culver (Iowa), Jennifer Granholm (Michigan), Tim Pawlenty (Minnesota), Jay Nixon (Missouri), Ted Strickland (Ohio) and Jim Doyle (Wisconsin).

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and mandates the development of high-speed passenger-rail systems. The Midwestern line would include 3,000 miles of existing rights of way to link large and small metropolitan areas, airports, bus stations and highways, the governors and Daley wrote. In addition, trains would operate at speeds up to 110 mph.

Chicago, which is bidding to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, would serve as the line’s hub, “just as it does for freight,” the letter states.

“President Obama’s vision of making high-speed rail a part of our nation’s future transportation network holds great promise,” the governors and Daley wrote. “We recognize that a high-speed rail network has the potential to reduce highway and airway congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.”

Under a first phase, the regional high-speed line would link Madison and Milwaukee, Wis., and Chicago.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/15/2009