Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Connect St. Louis and Chicago with True High-Speed Rail; 90 Minutes to Chicago?; Faster Rail System Could Be an Economic Powerhouse

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Connect St. Louis and Chicago with True High-Speed Rail; 90 Minutes to Chicago?; Faster Rail System Could Be an Economic Powerhouse

Article excerpt

The St. Louis-Chicago corridor took another step toward high- speed rail recently when the Federal Railroad Administration approved the plan to double-track the existing Union Pacific mainline.

This plan does not go far enough literally. It doesnt go fast enough, either. The current plan proposes to add tracks to the existing freight line to reduce the St. Louis to Chicago travel time to four hours just nine times a day. It doesnt link to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

We must do better.

True high-speed trains, using proven technology, could slash the St. Louis to the Chicago Loop trip to just 90 minutes, with hourly departures. If existing rail infrastructure were blended with long segments of new high-speed construction, similar to what is being done in California, trains could easily beat the 2.5-hour travel time needed to truly change todays journey into a commute. The same trains could stop at both downtown and Lambert, creating new opportunities for more people to take advantage of the reduced costs and improved access created by fast trains.

In truth, were not just talking about a train. Were talking about an economic powerhouse. A truly modern rail system, beginning with the proposed new Chicago/St. Louis line, can become the driver of economic development throughout the nations heartland and beyond. From an environmental standpoint it can be a huge win, diminishing our dependence on fossil fuels and helping to reduce air and auto emissions. Above all, this line can become the anchor of a modern transport web linking the big cities of the Midwest, and incubating new enterprises along its path.

The St. Louis-Chicago project will span a big stretch of the nations economic engine the heartland of steel production, Midwest coal production, varied manufacturing and agricultural.

We need high-speed rail to support the new economic drivers of todays Midwest: commerce, information technology, medical research and high-tech manufacturing. …

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