Passenger rail development is MOVING in our region, as well as the nation! As of yesterday, the Federal Railroad Administration has obligated funding for 72 of the 77 projects award through the stimulus (ARRA), the initial funding made available under the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program – almost $7.8 billion of the $8 billion has been signed off, with agreements in place, almost a year in advance of the deadline! Also, Amtrak has had a record ridership year – we’ll give you the specifics for the region as soon as they’re available. In the meantime, here are some regional successes:
1. The groundbreaking of the Englewood Flyer project will take place on Monday (October 10). This is an important capitol program that will eliminate one of Illinois’ most congested rail intersections, and pave the way for faster service from Chicago to Detroit (up to 110 mph). Illinois was awarded $133 million under the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program to complete this project.
2. Yesterday, the US DOT announced that it has obligated $196.5 million in funding under the HSIPR program to Michigan. The award, initially announced in May, will rehabilitate track and signal systems that will allow trains to travel at 110 mph for 235 miles, or 77 percent of the full corridor from Chicago to Detroit, resulting in a 30 minute reduction in trip time. The work funded in this project will replace ties, track, ballast, and highway crossings to a state of good repair on the line segment between Kalamazoo and Dearborn. It will also replace the current obsolete signal system with a positive train control (PTC) system. Together, these investments will result in improvements in trip time, average speed and top speed, and reduction in delay minutes.
3. Amtrak’s 30 millionth rider got on board at the St. Louis station, so Amtrak will be holding a special public event next Thursday (10/13) at the St. Louis Intermodal Station.
Congratulations and thanks to our heard-working state DOTs, FRA and Amtrak! State Passenger rail development is alive and well in the Midwest -- take a look at the list of all the HSIPR funding awarded to the Midwest to make passenger rail improvements across the Midwest!