Midwest High-Speed Rail
The $8 billion initial investment in high-speed rail is expected to produce about 320,000 jobs and roughly $13 billion in economic benefit, according to published reports.
These benefits include construction and operations jobs, as well as manufacturing and supply chain opportunities. By increasing mobility while decreasing congestion and sprawl, high-speed rail makes our country more competitive while simultaneously spurring economic development.
Congress’ ‘Buy America’ program ensures that high-speed rail lines and trains will be built and operated using items made by American industries. Immediately after the high-speed rail funding announcement, more than 30 rail manufacturers and suppliers committed to establish or expand their United States operations if they are chosen to build America’s next generation high-speed trains.
Companies are already following through on that commitment (click for examples).
Beyond bolstering American manufacturing, high-speed rail will help communities prosper. Rail improvements have a rich history of positive economic impact (click for examples).
The economic impacts seen across the country show local projects can have big benefits on the surrounding area, while regional efforts are likely to generate a ripple effect.
A nationwide high-speed rail network could mean 29 million fewer car trips and 500,000 fewer plane flights annually, according to a 2006 study. That would save 6 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of removing a million cars from the road annually.
High-speed rail reduces our dependence on foreign oil, protects the environment and is an ecologically responsible way to utilize land and natural resources.
The environmental advantages continue to increase as more ridership goes up (click for examples).
The Midwest High-Speed Rail Network will create reliable 110 mph train service with limited stops between Midwestern cities. Modern locomotives, comfortable passenger cars and improved train stations will ensure that the high-speed rail travel experience is comfortable and convenient, as well as fast. The Midwest-Chicago Network is a hub-spoke model that runs out of Chicago:
- One line runs north to Milwaukee, WI, before veering northwest to Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN.
- A second line runs south from Chicago to Springfield, IL, and St. Louis, MO, before veering west to Kansas City, MO.
- A third line runs south to Indianapolis, IN, where it branches into two lines, one running south to Louisville, KY, and another running to Cincinnati, OH.
- A fourth line runs east from Chicago to Toledo and Cleveland, OH. That line then runs south to Columbus, OH, before joining the third line at Cincinnati, OH.
- Finally, a fifth line runs east from Chicago to Kalamazoo and Detroit, MI.
More than a decade of high-speed rail advocacy by ELPC and others has worked to turn the vision of high-speed rail into a reality. In 2009, the federal government awarded the first round of competitive grants to develop high-speed rail corridors in the Midwest and nationwide. This commitment to developing smart transportation has earned broad bipartisan support from elected officials, businesses, labor leaders and environmentalists.
The exciting process of transforming America’s transportation system through high-speed rail has begun. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) awarded $8 billion in early 2010 to fund high speed rail projects – the Midwest received $2.62 billion of this funding to develop and improve service from Chicago to St. Louis, Chicago to Detroit, Milwaukee to Madison and Cleveland to Columbus and Cincinnati. The Transportation Infrastructure Grants for Economic Recovery (TIGER) program invested in important passenger and freight rail projects. The 2010 federal budget includes $2.5 billion for high-speed rail. The upcoming Transportation Reauthorization will make significant, multi-year investments in high-speed rail development.
To keep updated on our high-speed rail work, please visit our dedicated website, www.highspeedrailworks.org.