For those of us aching for more fast, frequent and reliable trains around the country, the State of Illinois’ upgrades to Lincoln Service trains between Chicago and St. Louis is a great project—but it’s taking longer than we’d like. Let’s take a look at what’s been accomplished, and what challenges remain.
This week, the Los Angeles Times reported on a plan forming in the California legislature to divert $5 billion in high-speed rail funds to commuter rail upgrades in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
We’re all about fast, frequent and reliable trains.
What do we mean when we say “fast?” New high-speed trains around the world continue to push that definition.
California continues to move ahead with its critical first segment of high-speed line.
Last week, the high-speed rail authority released a request for proposals for the contract to design, build and maintain the track and systems along the 119-mile initial segment in the Central Valley. This includes the track, signals, overhead electrification and station platforms.
A new study makes the business case for 220-mph high-speed rail in the Pacific Northwest. A brand-new high-speed line would be more cost-effective than other alternatives, it would cover its operating costs, and it would have a whole array of transformative benefits. It affirms that not only is high-speed rail feasible in the U.S., it’s a great idea. And, it lays out the sort of collaboration we need to bring high-speed rail to the Midwest.
Can you share a story about when you thought, “I wish I could have taken a train!”
I think that a lot. Here’s a recent example.
Last week I traveled to Louisville to present at the Congress for New Urbanism. My talk was about how a focus on networks, instead of individual routes, will make it easier to build a coalition for fast trains.
I wish there was a train to Louisville.
The flight from Chicago was expensive. Getting past the TSA was demeaning and time-consuming.
I had considered driving, but it would have twice as expensive and twice as long.
White House staff have issued a threat of presidential veto against a fiscal 2020 “minibus” package. These bills include Amtrak’s regular $2 billion operating funds, as well as a provision that protects federal funding for California high-speed rail.
We’ve made it easy to send a message to your representatives and the president: Fund Amtrak and high-speed rail!
The bills are being debated on the House floor today. Please take action now.
Thank you to everyone in Illinois who contacted their legislators in recent weeks to show support for trains!
Together, we gained funding commitments for new Amtrak routes and an all-new dedicated fund for transit projects.
Perhaps the single biggest achievement is the doubling of the state’s gas tax. This effectively restores the power of the tax that had been lost to inflation since it was last adjusted nearly 30 years ago. (It’s worth noting that transit fares have roughly doubled over the same period.) And, the tax will now be indexed to rise with inflation every year.
Capital Bill Passes - Passenger Rail Projects Funded
The Illinois General Assembly has passed the "Capital Bill".
We will have more analysis in our regular newsletter this week, but there are a few items that we can celebrate right away. The bill funds: