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3/11/2002



Rail News: Passenger Rail

High-speed rail group presents 2002 goals


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Midwest High Speed Rail Coalition members met March 9 in Chicago to announce the coalition’s 2002 agenda for transportation reform and legislative goals.



The coalition called the meeting in response to Amtrak’s Feb. 1 funding ultimatum.



"Cutting these trains would be a huge blow to the states’ efforts to develop faster, more-frequent trains," said Coalition Executive Director Rick Harnish in a prepared statement. "Even the recent cuts in staffing and maintenance will make it more difficult to provide the high level of service in the future."



Legislative goals include creating a moratorium on train discontinuance, dedicating a source of funding for railroad infrastructure development, and creating a new federal agency devoted to creating rail policy, managing funding and performing oversight functions.



Attendees also were urged to contact their legislators regarding rail service.



"It is crucial that Congress deal with this issue this year," said Harnish. "Another year of delay will damage our chances of getting the kind of rail service necessary to grow the Midwestern economy."


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