Tuesday, June 29, 2010

HSR planning surges!

Yesterday, June 28th, the FRA announced that it will begin accepting applications for $2.1 billion in grants to continue the development of high-speed intercity passenger rail corridors. In addition, $245 million will be available for individual construction projects within corridors. Grant awards for the $2.1 billion and $245 million from the FY2010 DOT appropriations, are expected to be announced by September 30, 2010.

Keep in mind that the report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors projects HSR to benefit Chicago to the tune of up to $6.1 billion per year in new business and up to 42,000 jobs.


Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a packed seminar for High Speed Rail in Chicago, which was sponsored by the Japan International Transport Institute and held at the Union League Club of Chicago. Our own Rick Harnish was among the keynote speakers. The large number of attendees at the seminar, coupled with the FRA funding announcements and the eagerness of countries with HSR to work with the Midwest, and the entire U.S. for that matter, are all signs of a rapidly approaching HSR reality for our region and our country.

Below: IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig addresses the crowd.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer holiday security measures

Fox 2 in St. Louis reports on the increased security for Amtrak passengers that has been made possible by the injection of stimulus dollars.

This comes on the heels of Amtrak President, Joseph Boardman, stating that, "Amtrak has no plans to follow most U.S. airlines and charge passengers for baggage. Security screening in major rail stations will be handled without installing the types of screening machines used at airports. Amtrak is increasing the use of dogs trained to detect explosives and vapors, especially on Northeast Corridor trains."

Labels: , , ,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Glowing news for rail in Chicago

As Amtrak gears up for $115 million in upgrades to Chicago's Union Station, a report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors is projecting that Chicago will gain upwards of 42,000 new jobs and $6.1 billion in additional economic activity from a fully realized Midwest High-Speed Rail Network.

The report is summarized in the below video clip:

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Q&A about rail in Michigan

Detroit newsradio station, WWJ, interviewed the chairman of the Michigan Association of Rail Passengers this past Sunday, June 13th, about planned upgrades and the ongoing discussion to improve service in the Wolverine State. Click here for the brief interview.

I forgot what a wolverine actually looked like, so in case you forgot too...


Illinois applies for cash to plan 220 mph service

Courtesy of Chicago Breaking News:

The state of Illinois has applied for $8 million in federal funds to help pay for planning regional high speed rail service.

The Midwest High Speed Rail Association on Monday said it applauded Illinois officials, including Gov. Pat Quinn, for making high speed rail a priority. The Illinois Department of Transportation applied for the grant money. The money would be used to begin designs for a 220-mph bullet train between Chicago and St. Louis.

The money would pay for the study of potential routes, the development of a business plan and an environmental review.

Rick Harnish, the executive director of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, says the bullet trains "are critical to reinventing the Midwest" and meeting the region's environmental, energy and economic challenges.

Labels: , , ,