News From MIPRC States



Second daily Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago train gets the green light as Minnesota provides TCMC Project match

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The final piece of the local funding puzzle for a second daily train between the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and Chicago fell into place on June 26 when Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed a transportation omnibus funding bill that includes the state’s share of non-federal money for the long-planned project.

Michigan wins another 'State of Good Repair' grant

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Michigan was the Midwestern winner in the latest round of federal “State of Good Repair” grants for fiscal year 2020, announced Oct. 28 by the Federal Railroad Administration. The Michigan Department of Transportation won up to $15,570,327 for 11 projects to modify track curves between Ypsilanti to Jackson that, when completed, are expected to provide a 7-minute reduction in trip times on the Wolverine and improve operational reliability and grade crossing safety throughout the Detroit-Chicago corridor.

TCMC project wins a $31.8 million CRISI grant

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The multi-state effort to add a second daily train between the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, and Chicago just got another major boost from the federal government. The Federal Railroad Administration  announced  on Sept. 23, 2020, that the “TCMC” project – also known as the “Second Empire Builder” – has been awarded a $31.8 million Consolidated Railroad Infrastructure and Safety Improvement  (CRISI) grant for final design and construction.

MIPRC states win $48.8 million in latest round of CRISI grants

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MIPRC states fared well in the latest round of federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grants, announced March 12 by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Among $248.5 million in total grant funds awarded to 27 states, passenger rail-related projects projects in Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin will receive up to $48,795,496.

Kansas Legislature holds third annual hearing on passenger rail

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Kansas state Senator and MIPRC Commissioner Carolyn McGinn hosted the Kansas Legislature’s third annual hearing on passenger rail at the Kansas State Capitol on January 22. Representatives from Amtrak, BNSF, Kansas DOT (KDOT) and MIPRC were invited to address an overflow group of legislators and advocates on the current state of passenger rail development at the federal, state and local levels.

In first 'State of Good Repair' grant awards, Midwest comes up big again

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Fresh from the June announcement that every MIPRC state had won a Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant, the region got more good news in August when the Federal Railroad Administration announced the first “State Of Good Repair” (SOGR) grant awards: three Midwestern states are among the 10 winners.

Illinois' new capital budget will boost, improve passenger rail service

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Capital funding and new service are coming down the tracks for riders of Illinois’ passenger trains in the state’s new six-year, $45 billion capital budget, a.k.a the “Rebuild Illinois” program. That budget, signed by Gov. JB Pritzker on June 28, allocates $33 billion to transportation, including funding to improve existing routes and revive two dormant projects to restore passenger service – between Chicago and the Quad Cities, and Chicago and Rockford.

New Michigan Services timetable shows shorter trips after rail investments

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A new schedule took effect for the state-supported Blue Water and Wolverine services starting on January 22, 2018, replacing the one that had been in effect since June 26, 2017,  reflecting significant improvements in running times thanks to upgrades to tracks and other infrastructure geared for 110 miles per hour service in the near future.

'Purpose and Need Statement' released for Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago service

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The proposed Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago (TCMC) Intercity Passenger Rail Service project between the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and Chicago cleared a procedural hurdle to entering the federal passenger rail program with the release of a Purpose and Need Statement , which defines the purpose of the project and the transportation needs addressed by the project, the Minnesota Department of Transportation officially announced on July 25, 2017.

Inspection train reveals strong support for connecting Southwest Chief, Heartland Flyer services

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Passenger rail service through Kansas is currently limited to just one daily round-trip train, the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief, which has six stops across Kansas (Lawrence, Topeka, Newton, Hutchinson, Dodge City and Garden City).  But that may change in wake of a June 9th inspection train from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Kansas City, Missouri, following strong ridership on an Amtrak Thruway bus connection that commenced in April of 2016.


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Secretariat services provided by The Council Of State Governments' Midwestern Office.