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Midwest receives more than one-third of new federal funds for HSIPR

Today, for the first time, Midwestern states were awarded federal dollars to modernize passenger rail equipment, and also received important additional funding for passenger rail corridor development in the region. MIPRC welcomes this strong affirmation of the region’s plans for fast, frequent passenger service.

The Midwest received $672.3 million, more than a third of the funding available to the states through today’s High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program announcement.

“The bottom line is creating jobs while developing passenger rail service into the strong, convenient transportation mode we know it can be for our region,” said Illinois Rep. Elaine Nekritz, MIPRC’s chair. “Today’s awards, together with federal funds already flowing to our states, will allow important upgrades to corridors, stations, locomotives and train cars, while creating thousands of jobs and boosting the nascent U.S. rail manufacturing industry.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration received almost 100 applications from 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak, for a total request of $10.5 billion. It selected 15 states and Amtrak to receive $2.02 billion for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects.

The following is information on the awards to the Midwestern states, from the U.S. Department of Transportation and state applications:

Next Generation Passenger Rail Equipment Purchase: This state-of-the-art rail equipment will provide safe and reliable American-built vehicles for passenger travel, while boosting the U.S. manufacturing industry. Illinois was the lead state for the Midwest Corridors application, which was awarded $268.2 million to purchase 48 high-performance passenger rail cars and 7 quick-acceleration locomotives for 8 corridors in 5 Midwestern states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri.

Illinois (Chicago-St. Louis Corridor): $186.3 million to construct upgrades on the Chicago - St. Louis Corridor between Dwight and Joliet, IL with trains operating at 110 mph for more than 220 miles of track. This investment will reduce trip times, enhance safety and add more seats on the corridor, increasing the number of people who can conveniently travel by train.

The project will add 7 miles of a second track between Joliet and Elwood, a 2-mile passing siding at Mazonia, and install Positive Train Control between Dwight and Joliet. In addition, IDOT will upgrade 33 private and farm crossings between Dwight and E. St. Louis with enhanced grade crossing protection (quad gates). On time performance would improve from 80 to 85% and schedules would be reduced by another nine minutes.

Michigan (Chicago-Detroit Corridor): $196.5 million to rehabilitate track and signal systems, bring trains up to speeds of 110 mph on a 235-mile section of the Chicago to Detroit corridor, and reduce trip times by 30 minutes. This amount is for the balance of funding needed to complete the corridor enhancement program over the next three years between Kalamazoo and Dearborn (NS ownership). This Service Development Plan was partially funded under FRA’s HSIPR Program in FY 2010 for $150 million.

Michigan (Chicago-Detroit Corridor): $2.8 million for an engineering and environmental analysis to construct a new intermodal rail station in Ann Arbor, MI, that will better serve passengers and allow more than one train to serve the station simultaneously. The station will include a parking structure, intercity passenger rail and bus and local transit.

Minnesota (Minneapolis-Duluth Corridor): $5 million to complete engineering and environmental work for establishing the Northern Lights Express – a high-speed intercity passenger service – connecting Minneapolis to Duluth, with 110-mph high-speed rail service.

Missouri (Chicago-St. Louis Corridor) – $13.5 million to advance the design of a new bridge over the Mississippi River on the Chicago to St. Louis Corridor, replacing a bridge built in the 1890s.

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