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Weekly Newsletter: Rahm Emanuel and O'Hare Express Trains

May 19, 2015

Did you see Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s interview in the Chicago Sun-Times?

In a wide-ranging conversation about his second-term priorities, the recently re-elected Mayor expressed his interest in introducing a high-speed train from Downtown to O’Hare.

This isn’t the first time one of the region’s most powerful leaders has aligned himself with a pro-transit, pro-high-speed rail agenda. In fact, many of his priorities have directly fit with our CrossRail Chicago initiative for a first-of-its-kind crosstown line.

Recently Mayor Emanuel has shown support for:

  • Finding $500 million for a complete renovation of Union Station.
  • Significantly expanding transit options on the South Side.
  • A new, fully-funded terminal district study, which will look at how to route trains into and through Chicago.
  • A Downtown-O’Hare express train - including hiring an aviation commissioner with experience on similar projects.

Obviously, nothing has been built yet, but these are all encouraging signs. Though the City will still be busy tackling other issues – including the pension crisis –there is reason to believe the Mayor could be the champion for better trains we need.

Under Rahm’s watch Chicago has seen significant work on modernizing the “L”. The small-scale work on Union Station that has already been funded – and the recently introduced Terminal District Study are also concrete steps in the right direction.

There are many obstacles ahead, but it’s much easier to make change happen when those in power are trying to accomplish the same things. In Chicago at least, we could be on the verge of something great.

All the best,

Julius Parod
Manager of Communications

Last Week at MHSRA:

MHSRA weighed in on the Amtrak debate last week. Check out some of the publications we were quoted in:

International Business Times – Great Article
Mass Transit
The Hill
Bradenton Herald
Bellingham Herald

MHSRA Executive Director Rick Harnish joined other Amtrak supporters, including Amtrak board member Tom Carper, at a Illinois House Transportation Committee Hearing in Springfield. Check out coverage of the event here.

On the Blog:

MEDIA RELEASE: Congress needs to step up to prevent future Amtrak crashes

Articles We Enjoyed:

STL high-speed line nearing completion
"'As a result of this project the trains will actually be safer because the grade crossings will be updated and because they're going to be using positive train control,' [MHSRA's] Harnish said."

Rahm’s big plans for second term might include cleaning house at Board of Ed
Chicago’s Mayor makes Downtown-O’Hare express trains a priority.

No, Boehner, Amtrak Funding-Derailment Link Is Not A Stupid Questions
“…Disinvestment affects the ability of Amtrak to rapidly deploy such safety measures as positive train control [PTC].”
The Plot Against Trains
A must read, especially the last paragraph.

LaHood calls for more Amtrak funding
“The idea that Amtrak doesn’t need more money to implement positive train control ... is nonsense,” said LaHood, former GOP Illinois representative [and U.S. Secretary of Transportation].

Wreck Adds to the Debate on Amtrak Funding
“Funding for Amtrak has been a perennial partisan flash point.”

How Congress Caused the Amtrak Crash
“The tragedy of Tuesday’s Amtrak derailment could have been prevented if
Congress had the foresight to invest in America’s infrastructure.”

A donation of $15 or more today will go directly towards educating elected officials. Can you help us move forward in 2015?

Julius Parod
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
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