High-Speed Rail plans take shape

Before leaving for Mexico, President Obama gave a brilliant speech on the necessity of high-speed rail in the United States. And, in addition to the $8 billion already set aside for such projects in the stimulus bill, he suggested that we add an additional $1 billion per year for the next 5 years. Here’s the speech… I cannot express to you how happy it makes me to hear the leader of our country talking intelligently and passionately about something that really matters. I never thought that I’d see that again in my lifetime.

Obama didn’t get into a lot of detail as to which projects were likely to be funded, but, according to the Washington Post, a sheet was distributed at the speech which drew attention to the following corridors.

— California Corridor (Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego)
— Pacific Northwest Corridor (Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver BC)
— South Central Corridor (Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock)
— Gulf Coast Corridor (Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta)
— Chicago Hub Network (Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville)
— Florida Corridor (Orlando, Tampa, Miami)
— Southeast Corridor (Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Macon, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville)
— Keystone Corridor (Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh)
— Empire Corridor (New York City, Albany, Buffalo)
–Northern New England Corridor (Boston, Montreal, Portland, Springfield, New Haven, Albany)

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Given that Obama has mentioned that getting high-speed rail to Chicago is a cause close to his heart, and what Governor Granholm said when she was here in Ypsi a few days ago about the the advance work being done by Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, and St Louis in order to qualify for the funds, I’d say it looks as though we’re in pretty good shape. Let’s keep the pressure on, though, just in case… If you have a moment this weekend, please consider sending a letter to the White House, telling them how much high-speed rail would mean to us in the greater Detroit area… Or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, start lobbying for an Ypsilanti stop.

[Text of Obama’s speech can be found here.]

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5 Comments

  1. Oliva
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    as was the case with highway construction, improved rail service will create its own demand. Faster, more reliable trains will attract riders and drive investment. New investment will attract new riders, and so on. The result will be a more balanced, reliable, redundant transportation system, that also happens to be more convenient and greener.

    So feel good about this, taxpayers. It’s money well spent.

    –Ryan Avent, http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/market-movers/2009/04/16/the-road-to-rail?tid=true

  2. EOS
    Posted April 17, 2009 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    O.K. – High speed rail to Chicago might be cool, but really, who would desire high speed to Ohio?? For 13 billion, couldn’t we at least connect the dots in Pennsylvania and link to the east coast? Not that I think we have another 13 billion to spend, but if it’s inevitable, shouldn’t we demand more value? And if we lobby for stops in every small community then it would no longer be high speed.

  3. Robert
    Posted April 19, 2009 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    It always seemed to me that it would make sense for a few of the Chicago to Toledo trains to go north from there into Detroit and then back west through the Ann Arbor/Kalamazoo route. There could be a few that did the same thing in the other direction also. It would give everyone more options and would probably increase ridership.

  4. Lisa
    Posted April 19, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I have to admit what stops me from taking the train is the lack of trains EAST. Not that I would ever discourage high speed rail…but can we get a regular speed route going east? I’d even settle for a super-slow speed one…

  5. Posted April 19, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    I heard somewhere today that the midwest corridor being pitched has a price tag of $7 billion. I haven’t been able to confirm it yet, but, if it’s true, that $8 billion Obama has allocated, even if we add the other $5 billion he’s asking for, won’t go too far… All the more reason to write to the White House. If only a few of these projects get funded, we need to make sure that ours is among them.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] how, a while ago, I told you that the feds had set aside over $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, and Michigan was joining with o…? Well, today was the deadline, and it appears as though we’ve requested $830 million. At […]

  2. […] that post, I included the following map, which had been shared by the […]

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