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."

Labels: , ,

Careers in transportation

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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cabinet Members travel in support of HSR

From the White House: Office of the Press Secretary

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.
  • 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.
On Friday:
  • 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:

Labels: , ,

HSR Money released in Tampa

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

Secretary LaHood talks more about the announcement on his blog. Below is a picture from the USDOT of the Midwest's grants:

Also, a tour a the historic and soon to be refurbished Union Depot in St. Paul is courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio and Secretary LaHood offers a brief synopsis of 2009 in the Department of Transportation:

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Minnesota fans invading Milwaukee and wifi news

Fans of the Minnesota Timberwolves will be invading Milwaukee the weekend of January 23rd, via Amtrak's Empire Builder, to support upgrading the line between Milwaukee and the Twin Cities.

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.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, January 16, 2010

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):

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Arnold gets it! We need 21st century infrastructure.

Here is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Meet the Press this morning:

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.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Exactly right! Nice job, Governor.

Bad weather strikes Amtrak

Mother Nature has given Amtrak a rough few days in the Midwest with:

A bit of good press for the National Railroad Passenger Corporation is:

Labels: ,

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tips for family train travel, VP Biden and a snowy perspective

ABC News reports good tips for taking the train with children, which is becoming an increasingly attractive mode with additional safety measures on airlines.

VP Biden has written an impassioned opinion piece stating, "Amtrak doesn't just carry us from one place to another--it makes things possible that otherwise wouldn't be."

While snow is falling through out the Midwest today, take a look at winter from the perspective of Amtrak's California Zephyr:

Labels: , , ,

Monday, January 04, 2010

Great video: President Obama on his vision for high speed rail

We really just can't get enough of this.

President Barack Obama talking about high speed rail, both improved Amtrak service on freight tracks and new passenger-only high speed rail tracks. And the best part:

"There's no reason why we can't do this. This is America."

The President started this train with $8 billion as one-time jumpstart funds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February.

Then Congress upped the ante by appropriating $2.5 billion in December for 2010.

That means we're now on track to spend $25 billion over a decade on high speed rail, plus the $8 billion in the stimulus for $33 billion.

Not bad....but China is spending $300 billion over the next decade on high speed rail.

So we need to up the ante from $2.5 billion annually to $4 or $5 billion annually on high speed rail.

This is our time! This is how we build prosperity for the next generation or two or three!

The President gets it. Let's back him up.