Alt Transit: High Speed Rail for the Midwest

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The Cincinnati-Columbus

The Cincinnati-Columbus-Cleveland proposal would only have resurrected a service that died for lack of ridership. It would not have gone any faster than 79 mph, which is NOT high speed rail. The project was intended to either give jobs to a state that desperately needed them, or else reward Ohio for going blue. The second thing it was intended to do was funnel money into the pockets of freight rail shareholders, which happened with a LOT of the other money intended for passenger rail. Kasich was smart to cancel this project.

The Wisconsin project would have been intermediate speed, and the decision to cancel it was also kind of middle ground. They screwed Minnesota and Tango along the way, but it would not have been a flagship project the way that the Florida one would have been.

The Florida project would have been true HSR, topping out at 220 mph. Florida spent money on ridership projections that showed that the project would have made a lot of sense; but when Rick Scott came in to office, he didn't believe them. So, he ordered his own study. But he was so pig headed about it, he cancelled the project before the results of his OWN study had been completed. Now, the traffic conditions there are so still so favorable to rail that a private company wants to build the line, in spite of the competition from heavily subsidized highways and airports.

I think the project in Florida would have been a "catalyst" project that would have demonstrated the success of high speed rail in America, and strengthened support for more of these types of projects elsewhere in the country. After Rick Scott turned down the Federal money, a lot of it went to California instead. I think the CA project can also be that type of catalyst, maybe even more so... But it is going to take a lot more time than the FL would have.

Jake 255 days ago

MN several months ago

MN several months ago shelved it's study conducted on behalf of Olmstead County on HSR between The Twin Cities & Rochester. The line would be approximately 77 mile, not 100 and would have difficulty achieving true High Speed Rail Speeds. Ridership numbers appeared highly inflated and the North American High Speed Rail Group (NAHSR) who is now exploring/looking for investors to build this line have admitted the train would loose money but they expected to makeup the money with developments on either end. Information for that line shown in this article in my opinion is outdated & no longer correct.
I found The Facebook page CCARL shows much of the history on that line.

Milly 256 days ago

I am curious about Mr. Dan

I am curious about Mr. Dan Krom's comment. The state of MN is NOT currently looking into high speed passenger rail between the Twin Cities and Rochester. When was that statement taken?

Also, where did you get the map shown in the story, I did not see a source cited? It would lead one to believe those are existing lines when in fact they are not.

Heather 257 days ago

Allen above is telling lies -

Allen above is telling lies -- Walker not only put the kibash on it exactly as stated in this article, but also screwed the Italian company that invested in Milwaukee to build railcars -- even going so far as to refuse to accept and pay for a trainset that was built under contract!

The walkerites have never lived in reality, but it is disappointing to see them come here and spew lies like this.

joe 268 days ago

Perhaps these Talgo trainsets

Talgo trainsets are ready to go and could be used to provide a second train between Chicago and Twin Cities. If WI doesn't want to pay their share of expenses, then speed up the schedule by skipping all WI stops except LaCrosse and Milwaukee.

grover5995 253 days ago

not all conservatives hate

not all conservatives hate trains
look at train magazines full of nostalgia for the days when everyone loved trains

paul meece 268 days ago

Regular trains are more

Regular trains are more environmentally friendly - it takes less energy to go 100 mph than 200. High speed rail is an economic boondoggle. Buses are far cheaper and more flexible, but they don't have the sizzle that politicians and others crave. The California experience should make voters think twice about whether to give them mega-expensive infrastructure projects of dubious utility.

Mr. Peabody 269 days ago

"Governors John Kasich of

"Governors John Kasich of Ohio, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Rick Scott of Florida all put the kibosh on planning for passenger rail improvements in their states."

The Walker administration along with Wisconsin's legislature did put to an end the expensive project to extend the existing Amtrak Hiawatha service from Milwaukee to Madison. They did NOT "put the kibosh on planning for passenger rail" in Wisconsin.

The Walker administration and legislature asked the Federal government for more funds for the best part of that initial project, the existing MKE - CHI Hiawatha. The Fed balked at improving it.

https://www.biztimes.com/2011/03/31/walker-wants-federal-funds-for-hiawatha-expansion/

https://www.biztimes.com/2011/03/31/walker-wants-federal-funds-for-hiawatha-expansion/


Walker & Co. clearly did not hate passenger trains. They saw enough value in them to put state money into the existing line. Claiming otherwise is at best ignorant.

Allen 274 days ago

implying that Walker and his

implying that Walker and his gang "..saw enough value..." in trains in WI is flawed.

http://www.wpr.org/following-wisconsins-high-speed-rail-funding-down-tracks

PacoPepe 269 days ago

Walker only asked to upgrade

Walker only asked to upgrade the Hiawatha after pressure from the business community. If it was up to him, state of WI would not spend a single dime on passenger trains. He is bought and paid for by the highway and oil lobby.

grover5995 253 days ago

Excellent article!

Excellent article!

Maurice 274 days ago

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