The final version of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act now before Congress includes an unprecedented $8 billion investment in high-speed rail. In addition, Amtrak will receive $1.3 billion to rebuild trains and improve its capacity.
“We commend President Obama and Congress for helping to get America moving again with modern trains,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “Investing in high-speed rail projects will put people to work quickly, create new economic opportunities, increase mobility and reduce traffic congestion and pollution.”
The $8 billion made available through the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be awarded competitively to states to improve passenger rail service, primarily on those corridors where 110 mph service is proposed. Funds can also be used on conventional rail projects that relieve congestion. The Midwest is very well positioned, with federally designated high-speed rail corridors radiating out in a hub-and-spoke network from Chicago to St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Madison and the Twin Cities.
“The Environmental Law & Policy Center has long called for the development of a Midwest high-speed rail network. Governors and state Departments of Transportation have embraced high-speed rail as modern, fast, comfortable and convenient. We have done the homework and prep work. These projects are now ready to build,” said Learner. “We look forward to working with the states to meet Congress’s challenge to rebuild America with cleaner transportation.”
“Congress has moved on the right track toward economic recovery,” said Learner. “Investing in modern, high-speed rail is an important down payment on America’s transportation future.”