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View Diary: A destination for that high-speed rail money (363 comments)

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  •  agreed, thought I'd add a bit more detail (2+ / 0-)
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    martini, BYw

    You can find ARRA's corridor awards here.

    The problem, though, is that lines in Ohio and Wisconsin are vital for a cohesive Midwestern hub.

    Yep. And I'd second that this concept of thinking regionally is very important. I would also add Iowa to Ohio and Wisconsin if Branstad keeps making noises (the current Chi - SF line runs through southern Iowa, and Des Moines is a natural connector for passenger rail to KC, Omaha, Minneapolis, and Chicago). But the good news is that's a long-term strategic issue. In the short-term, ARRA (only) allocated $8 billion. Only three projects accounted for over half of all the allocation nationwide: CA Central Valley, St. Louis/Chicago, and Tampa/Orlando. The Ohio project in particular doesn't connect anything nationally; it's essentially a Cleveland/Columbus/Cincinnati project internal to the state.

    As the Midwest is a huge potential region for significant rail investment over the next couple decades, no individual state can hold up progress at the level of funding we're talking about. Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana, and of course Illinois, can spend all the money and then some allocated to states like Wisconsin or Iowa or Ohio should they decide to make it a political issue over the next couple years. It's only if states are holding out over a period of, say, a couple decades, that this becomes a regional issue.

    This even allows for interesting tradeoffs in terms of timelines for how we move forward. For example, perhaps we deal with east/west through Iowa later and instead upgrade KC/Chicago, a leg that could be very valuable in the Midwest if there were more and faster trains. Or more aggressively, look at a Minneapolis/Omaha/KC route or add a parallel route of Chicago/KC/Denver, circumventing Iowa almost entirely [right now, the Chi - LA line goes through KC across Kansas, and the Chi - SF line goes across Iowa to Omaha and Denver. There's no way to get straight from Salt Lake and Denver to KC and StL.].

    Perhaps we look at a new corridor across Illinois and Indiana connecting St. Louis, Louisville, and Indianapolis to each other rather than a new corridor in Ohio. We could extend Indy up to Detroit while we're at it. Maybe we upgrade the existing KC/StL route instead of working on Madison/Milwaukee. There's plenty of track in Minnesota that could be improved before worrying about Wisconsin. Maybe it shifts the whole focus of the region southward, away from WI and IA and OH toward better connections to OK, AR, KY, and TN.

    Start putting these kinds of pressures on the table, from initial feasibility studies to engineering to actually building projects, and I think that would do some very interesting things.

    Ask your Member of Congress what they're doing to put Americans back to work.

    by washunate on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 11:54:31 AM PST

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