Wednesday, January 27, 2010
According to media and state sources, tomorrow the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will announce which passenger rail projects will receive a portion of the $8 billion in funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The following has currently been reported in a variety of media sources:
President Obama will be in Florida tomorrow, so it is expected that he will make announcement there (see http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/AP/story/1448175.html).
We also know that there will be a “major FRA announcement” at the St. Louis, Missouri Gateway Intermodal Transportation Center tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. Central, and one in Columbus, Ohio at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.
Nine Midwestern states – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin – submitted applications last summer and fall to receive federal funding for the development of passenger rail corridors. Applications submitted from this region totaled more than the $8 billion available for projects nationwide.
On October 2, 2009, MIPRC submitted a letter to FRA Administrator Joe Szabo explaining the benefits of the Midwest’s two multi-state initiatives – the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MWRRI) and the Ohio Hub. The letter explained that that the two initiatives have been planned by Midwestern states for over a dozen years and that the build-out of the MWRRI and Ohio Hub will bring over $30 billion in economic benefit to the region, while creating an average of more than 20,000 jobs annually during construction and approximately 75,000 permanent new jobs.
While we know that no one region will receive all the funding, the MIPRC strongly supports all of the applications that will make the improvements envisioned by the MWRRI and the Ohio Hub, and wishes the best of luck to each Midwestern state!