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  #41  
Old Posted Jul 27, 2009, 8:32 PM
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http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2...rail-pact.html

Chicago, 8 states sign high-speed rail pact
July 27, 2009 12:58 PM | 35 Comments

Eight states and the city of Chicago signed an agreement today aimed at coordinating plans to develop high-speed passenger train corridors across the Midwest.

The memo of understanding focuses on offering a faster and more efficient option for travelers as well as creating thousands of jobs to boost the economy, officials said.
The agreement was signed during a high-speed rail summit held in Chicago.

Participants to the agreement are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Chicago.

"This is a historic day. It's very important that we look to the future," said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who hosted the summit along with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mayor Richard Daley.

The Obama administration has allotted $8 billion in start-up funding to help states develop high-speed passenger rail corridors. The agreement today lays the groundwork for Midwestern states to compete for a share of the federal funding.

The top priority of the Midwest high-speed rail program is to build 110-mile-per-hour corridors from Chicago to St. Louis; Detroit/Pontiac; and Milwaukee/Madison, Wis. and up to Minneapolis.

Over the next 20 years, the corridors would be expanded to cover about 3,000 miles over nine states.

-- Jon Hilkevitch
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  #42  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2009, 7:07 AM
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http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/l...,3197777.story


High-speed rail plan in Midwest gets a big push forward

Mayor Richard Daley joins several governors to sign agreement


By Jon Hilkevitch

Tribune reporter

July 28, 2009

An agreement signed Monday seeking to fast-track high-speed passenger rail projects in the Midwest has three powerful engines pulling in its favor: the Obama administration, the clout of congressional delegations from eight states and the support of the nation's freight railroads.

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and the City of Chicago entered into a memorandum of understanding that commits the governments to coordinate plans to develop 110-m.p.h. rail corridors across the Midwest.

At Monday's ceremony, the pact was signed by five governors and Mayor Richard Daley. They all attended a summit in Chicago aimed at laying the groundwork to compete for the largest possible share of $8 billion the Obama administration has allocated for high-speed rail. Three other governors signed the documents earlier.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said the goal is to offer a faster and more efficient option for travelers, as well as create tens of thousands of jobs to boost the Midwest economy.

"This is a historic day," Quinn said. "It's very important that we look to the future."

Several governors mentioned President Barack Obama's strong support for the Midwest high-speed rail initiative, which would consist of a network based in Chicago and eventually branch out 3,000 miles over nine states.

But the first priority is to operate faster trains from Chicago to St. Louis; to Detroit/Pontiac; and to Milwaukee/Madison within three to five years. Preliminary cost estimates total about $4 billion.

Over as many as 20 years, additional high-speed as well as conventional train service connections would radiate to other destinations, connecting to:

--The east by way of Indiana, with service to Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati in Ohio.

--The southeast to Indianapolis.

--The northeast to Grand Rapids, Holland and Port Huron in Michigan.

--The north to Green Bay.

--The northwest to Minneapolis.

--The southwest and west through St. Louis to Kansas City, Mo.

--The south to Carbondale, Ill.

--The west to the Quad Cities, Iowa City and Des Moines; to Omaha, and to Quincy, Ill.

"The president's high-speed rail map talks about the importance of the Chicago hub and the corridors extending from it," said Jolene Molitoris, director of the Ohio Department of Transportation. "We are hoping to send 6 million or more Ohioans on high-speed trains to the Olympics in Chicago [in 2016]."


Daley singled out U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a staunch supporter for many years of improving intercity passenger rail, for setting the stage for Obama to pledge the $8 billion in federal stimulus funds, plus an additional $1 billion a year over five years.

"My role at the signing was as a federal inspector," Durbin quipped after watching the governors and the mayor ink the agreement at the Union League Club downtown.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said the rail projects would create 57,000 permanent jobs across the Midwest.

In the capital funding bill that the Illinois General Assembly recently approved, the state has committed $400 million to high-speed rail, plus another $150 million to plan for expanding existing Amtrak service from Chicago to Rockford and Dubuque, Iowa.

In addition, $300 million has been allocated to rebuild the state's aging rail infrastructure, a major source of congestion for both freight and passenger trains.

Chicago is the only U.S. city served by all of the "Big Six" freight railroads, and the freight industry views the specter of high-speed passenger trains as a tool to jump-start long-delayed plans to modernize and expand tracks, signals and related equipment to undo bottlenecks and expand rail capacity.

"It was clearly enunciated at today's summit meeting, to our great relief, that the freight industry will be made whole in these efforts. It wasn't something we heard in the past," said Tom Livingston, a vice president of state government and community affairs at CSX Transportation.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2009, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by nomarandlee View Post
Participants to the agreement are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Chicago.
I like that Chicago now ranks as equally as important as a bunch of states!
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  #44  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2009, 1:40 AM
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PLEASE let the Cincinnati-Dayton-Columbus-Cleveland line happen - it's perhaps the most underdeveloped corridor in the country and all of the cities with the exception of Cleveland badly need better public transportation. Of course, by the time it's done, I'll probably be outta here, but... let's do it for the children.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2009, 4:56 AM
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We'll see when the grant winners are announced in the fall. I'd put my money on Madison-Milwaukee and Chicago-Detroit. That should be about ~$2 billion out of the 8. Another $3 billion will probably go to California, and the remaining $3 billion will be divided among the rest of the states.

Some money will probably go to DC-Richmond and some to Florida. Depending on the cost for the 3-C route, it might get funding. It makes sense politically, since it's in a major swing state that went Obama in the last election. Plus, it connects four major cities (or five, if you count Akron).
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  #46  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2009, 12:05 PM
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^The first designated corridor in the Midwest is undoubtedly Chicago-St. Louis. This is an absolute fact. If the Midwest initiative wins, it go to St. Louis. They have been comprehensively studying this alignment for years.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2009, 1:08 PM
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Dont forget that there is also $5 billion in this fiscal year available for an annual investment, Which will then revert to a $1 billinoin annual investment in subsequent years. I am sure the Chi-StL corridor will get at least $500 million this year alone.

Also there is another $500 million that I expect to go to CREATE. And the Quad Cities-Chicago route will get at least $150 million out of the ARRA funds.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2009, 7:12 PM
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^The first designated corridor in the Midwest is undoubtedly Chicago-St. Louis. This is an absolute fact. If the Midwest initiative wins, it go to St. Louis. They have been comprehensively studying this alignment for years.
^ Agreed. I think Chi-StL has been treated as a higher priority, from all that I've read
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  #49  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2009, 9:00 PM
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^ Keep in mind TUP and Jive that the FRA will divide the money into 2 pools. One will be a fast track that will reward programs that offer initial State matching funds, and are shovel ready. Another will be fully Fed funded. Illiinois will rank highly in the first category as will Wisconsin's Mad-Milw line. (and California). However Misourri is not quite as bold with their committment, fortunately for them the vast majority of this project is in ILL. Just dont look for that STL-KC line imropvement anytime soon.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2009, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jpIllInoIs View Post
However Misourri is not quite as bold with their committment, fortunately for them the vast majority of this project is in ILL. Just dont look for that STL-KC line imropvement anytime soon.
^ Vast majority? More like the whole damn thing is in Illinois.

For all St Louis is concerned, they just need to show up with a jackhammer, a shovel, a few bolts, and a laid off janitor to complete their end. The Chi-STL route is all going to be paid for by Illinois--Missourians are lucky on that part.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2009, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 View Post
I like that Chicago now ranks as equally as important as a bunch of states!
It always has.
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  #52  
Old Posted Jul 30, 2009, 8:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JivecitySTL View Post
^The first designated corridor in the Midwest is undoubtedly Chicago-St. Louis. This is an absolute fact. If the Midwest initiative wins, it go to St. Louis. They have been comprehensively studying this alignment for years.
What I meant to say is that I don't think the Chi-StL line will get full funding in this round, due to its length and cost. The Michigan and Wisconsin plans are operating with zero freight interference on state- or Amtrak-owned tracks. The line lengths are shorter and both states have pledged heavy contributions.
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  #53  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2009, 12:19 PM
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Illinois-Iowa passenger services

Some news on the ILL-Iowa service expansion projects.....


Iowa, Illinois file rail passenger service pre-applications

Iowa Department of Transportation has submitted pre-applications to the Federal Railroad Administration for funding of five intercity passenger rail projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Dubuque Register reports. The first two projects are being submitted in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation seeking funding for improvements necessary for new intercity passenger rail services on the Chicago-to-Dubuque and Chicago-to-Quad City-to-Iowa City corridors. The regular applications for these two projects are due no later than Oct. 2.

The third project, on behalf of the BNSF, seeks funding to make improvements that will relieve congestion on the line serving the California Zephyr Amtrak service across southern Iowa. The regular application for this project is due no later than Aug. 24.

Work on the applications has begun and will compete with applicants from around the country for a share of the $8 billion in Recovery Act Funds appropriated for intercity passenger rail capital investments.

Two additional pre-applications have been submitted for funding at a later date. These pre-applications express that the next steps in Iowa's plan for expanded passenger rail service are for service from Chicago to Des Moines and then from Chicago to Council Bluffs/Omaha.

http://www.rtands.com/breaking_news.shtml#Feature4-7-22
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  #54  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2009, 4:54 PM
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jp, that's GREAT GREAT news for someone like me who lives between IC, QC, and Chi!!! It doesn't get better than that!!
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  #55  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2009, 7:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowhereman1280 View Post
I like that Chicago now ranks as equally as important as a bunch of states!
It should. The Chicago area has a greater population than every other of those states except Michigan (which it is almost equal to), and greater than all of non-Chicago Illinois. And a greater GDP than any of those states, and makes up the vast majority of GDP for Illinois.
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  #56  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2009, 7:41 PM
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It should. The Chicago area has a greater population than every other of those states except Michigan (which it is almost equal to), and greater than all of non-Chicago Illinois. And a greater GDP than any of those states, and makes up the vast majority of GDP for Illinois.
Did I miss the news when Ohio bled out two million people to slip below Metro Chicago in population?
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  #57  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2009, 8:05 PM
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Ohio isn't in the Midwest, silly .
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  #58  
Old Posted Aug 4, 2009, 11:18 PM
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^ Yeah, but Chicago has more highrises than every city in the midwest (and then some) combined. Since highrises are cool, and since trains are cool, then coolness wins and Chicago gets to be as important as a state.

Like that logic? If not, I'm ready for a throw-down
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  #59  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2009, 2:22 PM
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Now lets hear from Canada

High-speed rail touted as boon to region


By Dave Hall, The Windsor StarAugust 4, 2009

High-speed rail connections between Windsor and Quebec -- and possibly reaching as far into the U.S. midwest as Chicago -- have the potential to help transform and diversify the region's auto-dependent economy, say supporters of the idea.

It could take $18 billion to $30 billion and 10 years to build the necessary railbeds to accommodate high-speed trains and manufacture the locomotives and railcars, but the opportunity is too important to pass up, said Coun. Fulvio Valentinis, a member the of city's rail issues committee.

"History has shown us that access is critical to economic development," Valentinis said. "Access to high-speed rail provides access to major cities in a similar way that European cities are connected and have been for many years.

"We are well behind Europe when it comes to rail travel and, in particular, high-speed rail travel."

Under the European model, major cities are connected by high-speed rail lines while smaller feeder lines connect regional centres.

In an effort to ensure Windsor is considered for the major high-speed routes -- and isn't shunted off to the side and treated as a regional centre, feeding off London's main line -- council voted in February to spend $42,500 to become part of a feasibility study conducted by SNC-Lavalin.

The first phase of that study -- data collection -- is nearing completion with the second phase expected to begin in the fall.

"We felt it important to ensure that Windsor was part of the mix from the beginning," Mayor Eddie Francis said.

"The economic impact of being part of such a project is immense.

It brings millions of people closer together, not only for business travel but also for commuters and tourists.

"It would provide business travellers with the opportunity to attend business meetings in Toronto and return the same day with the advantage of being able to do some work en route," Francis said.

A city-commissioned study released 18 months ago calls for consolidation of rail lines entering Windsor, which could free up lines for high-speed rail.

"You can't run high-speed trains on freight lines because of safety and volume concerns," Valentinis said. "So any decision to introduce high-speed rail must also consider rail consolidation as its first priority, not only here but across the province."

Lindsay Boyd, outgoing chairman of the board of the Windsor Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, also supports high-speed rail connections across the province and into the U.S. Midwest.

He cited examples in Japan, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Norway where high-speed rail has prompted economic development and investment.

"In the experience of many countries that have adopted HSR, the new infrastructure has been a significant driver of economic growth, primarily around new high-speed rail stations," Boyd said.

"High-speed trains are best suited for trips of two or three hours in duration and can beat both air and car in terms of total travelling time.

"High-speed trains on our corridor will create new communities, new access to the rest of the world and new business possibilities."

While acknowledging that Windsor Airport is also attempting to position itself as an alternative to major airports and attract more routes and products, Francis said he doesn't see rail as a rival.

"I see rail and air travel as being complementary to each other," Francis said.

"The more transportation options a city has, the more attractive it becomes to business investment."

Patrick Persichilli, vice-president of the WindsorEssex Development Commission, said including a U.S. component as far west as Chicago is critical because it connects millions of people and helps the border become seamless."There's a significant cluster of people and industry between Quebec and Chicago, and bringing them closer together and providing for fast and efficient travel in and out of cities along the corridor could provide immeasurable economic and investment opportunities," Persichilli said.

Boyd also said that "high-speed rail is a leading-edge technological change that will usher the region into the new century.

"It will also decrease the reliance on automobiles, thus reducing pollution with all the added benefits for health, helping the natural environment and reducing congestion."

In addition to massive amounts of infrastructure investment, committing to high-speed rail, which has been discussed for more than two decades, will require an enormous amount of political will.

Persichilli said the fact that politicians and other stakeholders are talking about the project again "gives me hope there's some political will growing and that it will eventually happen.

"I think the next six to eight months will give us a better indication of whether or not this has a future," Persichilli said.

"The fact that we're becoming more environmentally conscious and becoming more green will make public transit and public transportation infrastructure projects more and more important.

"In Europe, the cost of oil and petrol has been significantly higher than in North America for years and that's created a greater need for public transportation infrastructure projects," said Persichilli. "We're headed that way as well.

"There's no question this needs to happen, but the question is when?"

© Copyright (c) The Windsor Star
http://www.canada.com/travel/High+sp...485/story.html
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  #60  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2009, 2:33 PM
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