An ongoing discussion led by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association on creating a modern, high-speed passenger rail network. We also discuss national and international transportation policy.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
An Architect's POV of HSR in the Midwest
The Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin examines an Architectural point of view of high speed rail in the midwest and making stations "proud gateways", rather than "eyesores."
Discussed are upgrades to Chicago's Union Station and "the proposed $2 billion West Loop Transportation Center under Clinton Street, which would connect Union Station and the Ogilvie Transportation Center with CTA buses and rail lines, Pace buses and high-speed rail."
For anyone interested in a career in public transportation, the below video was just released by the National Center for Transit Research at the Center for Urban Transportation Research at the University of South Florida.
Obama Administration officials are traveling across the country this week to announce funding for the high speed rail projects and discuss how this investment will create local jobs and rebuild the economy. Today:
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will travel to Durham, North Carolina,
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis will visit Columbus, Ohio and
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan will be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will hold an event in Washington, DC,
Executive Director of the White House Council on Auto Communities and Workers Ed Montgomery will visit St. Louis, Missouri and
Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo will be in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
a senior Department of Transportation official will travel to California and
FRA Administrator Szabo will hold an event in Chicago, Illinois.
For further details on the major corridor projects, click here:
During the President's trip to Tampa this morning, he announced the recipients of the Stimulus Package's $8 billion in High Speed Rail Grants. The Midwest region received roughly $2.6 billion in federal grants, which is second only to the West region, due largely to the $2.25 billion going to California. Illinois will receive about $1.23 billion of the $4.5 billion it requested. For more read this article from Chicago Breaking News
Also, the Northeast Corridor's Acela train will be upgrading it's first class seats, while also rolling out wifi this March. It's tough to argue with these upgrades to the nation's fastest passenger line since it accounted for 27% of Amtrak's revenue in 2008.
Video of Governor Pat Quinn talking up high speed rail at his State of the State
This is very exciting news.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in his State of the State called for continued investment in rail throughout the state -- and particularly 220 mph high speed rail connecting Chicago to Champaign!
This is the first time a Governor of the Midwest has called for European-style high speed rail. As part of an ever-improving network of rail, 220 mph high speed rail is the essential investment in our economic growth, driving down the cost of doing business by shrinking our state and region.
Here is the video (the discussion on rail starts around the 25:00 mark):
Look, this country need to rebuild itself. We are still living off the Eisenhower era and off the Roosevelt era when they built the thousands of bridges and the thousands of government buildings and the roads, the highway system and all of those things. What's the new thing that we're building? We haven't built anything in decades. We need a high speed rail. We need new infrastructure. We need to think about it because we have countries like China and Europe that are very fast gaining on us and surpassing us. So we got to get our act together and really make this country kind of live in the 21st century, not be with the infrastructure in the 20th century.