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From the Feds: More Dollars for High Speed Rail

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It's official, the feds are chipping in $186M for the next phase of the St. Louis to Chicago HSR project. Track work to date has spanned much of the route between the cities, and Spring will mark the commencement of improvements on the leg between Dwight and Joliet. The expectation is that nearly 70% of the route will achieve a 110 mph speed zone— not truly high speed, some would say, but better than Amtrak's standard 79 mph speed limit. Reliance on freight-owned track has historically been to blame for slow speeds and absurdly regular delays. And train technology has flagged in turn. But a revival is knocking at the door. According to today's U.S. DOT press release, Illinois ridership has grown 137% over the last five years. The rosy message from U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood reads: "The Great Lakes-Midwest economic region is the world's fifth largest economy by Gross Domestic Product, and nearly 100 million people live within 500 miles of each other. The Department of Transportation's investment of more than $1 billion in the region's high-speed rail service will reduce trip times and save travelers money, resulting in reduced congestion for the region and making the Midwest a better place to start a business and create jobs." Amen.
·Official Site: Illinois High Speed Rail
·U.S. DOT Press Release