Congressman Quigley Champions High-Speed Rail

Congressman Quigley speaking during a congressional hearing.

Congressman Mike Quigley published an outstanding opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune this week called “We need to invest in a high-speed rail future.” Rep. Quigley raised the bar for service in Illinois by calling for a 2½-hour trip time between Chicago and St. Louis—half the time today’s trains currently take. Rep. Quigley points to the huge benefits from saving this much time for millions of riders, and he highlights the opportunity that federal infrastructure funding provides to achieve th

Here is an excerpt:

“For the first time in decades, there is a real opportunity and hunger for investments in high-speed rail projects. From Los Angeles to Miami, it’s happening across the United States. … To achieve this, we must take the steps now to invest in a high-speed rail future while making improvements to our current passenger rail network.”

Congressman Quigley goes on to argue for stepped up investment in existing assets, particularly Chicago Union Station.  He was instrumental in gaining $40 million in federal funds for Union Station upgrades in last month’s appropriations bill. He also wants to “allow passengers to move seamlessly” between high-speed trains and existing transit networks.

The Alliance applauds his vision. It is time to think big about creating regional and national high-speed rail connections. That’s what an integrated approach to high-speed rail is.

It’s so important to have a champion of Representative Quigley’s stature. He is the lead Democrat on a powerful Congressional subcommittee that oversees funding for the Department of Transportation.

And Representative Quigley is not alone. In March, two other champions in Congress—Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA)— introduced the American High-Speed Rail Act. This bill, which launched with more than two dozen co-sponsors in the U.S. House, would invest $41 billion annually in high-speed rail and “higher-speed rail” projects over five years, for a total investment of $205 billion.

We can’t take anything for granted. Our congressional champions are also up against familiar opposition and simple inertia that keeps doubling down on highway and airport spending. They need our support. If you are a constituent and haven’t already, please send a thank-you email to Congressman Quigley.

Leadership like this has fostered an exciting time for all of us who want great trains. The United States now has two high-speed lines under construction, in California, and between Nevada and Southern California. More are in development, along with much better regional rail service.

When you are part of the High Speed Rail Alliance, you are part of a movement to keep this momentum going and growing, and to provide travelers with great trains all over North America.

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