“The Midwest is working as one region to connect its residents through improved high-speed and intercity passenger rail service. Connecting the metropolitan areas of the region, such as Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Des Moines, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis- St Paul and St. Louis, to each other through rail will create new jobs, stimulate private investment, expand transportation options and reduce our environmental impact“.
On April 16, 2009, President Obama announced his “Vision for High Speed Rail”. This vision includes the development of high-speed train lines in at least 10 regions across the country, including the Midwest with a major hub network centered in Chicago. To “jump start” the implementation of high-speed and intercity passenger rail, $8 billion has been included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. An additional $1 billion a year is expected to be budgeted over the next five years. The United States Senate and House of Representatives are currently considering additional federal funding for high-speed passenger rail for the 2010 transportation appropriations bill. As much as $4 billion could be available to continue development of the U.S. high-speed passenger rail system.
The Midwest is committed to developing high-speed rail throughout the region and has made significant investments towards its future. Collectively, the region has invested over $1 billion dollars in passenger rail improvements over the last ten years. These investments, coupled with the potential funding from ARRA and other federal appropriations, will allow the Midwest to continue the implementation of the Midwest Regional Rail System, a 3,000 mile rail network developed by the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative.