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Weekly Newsletter: Rauner lets politics trump policy

February 23, 2015

Did you see the big news out of Illinois last week? Governor Rauner's new proposed budget – designed to solve Illinois' serious fiscal challenges – calls for cuts to dozens of programs, including passenger rail.

Amtrak will see a nearly 40% cut, which will result in fewer frequencies on some in-state routes. Other transit agencies like Metra, CTA and Pace are also facing significant funding decreases. Already-funded expansions like Chicago-Quad Cities and Chicago-Rockford remain on hold.

Rauner argues these cuts are necessary to trim the state's deficit - while at the same time calling for more highway spending.

The fact is, Rauner is choosing politics over good policy. Highways are more expensive, have fewer benefits and come with significant externalities like sprawl and congestion that cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

If Rauner focused on good policy, he'd see that public transportation is key to any thriving economy. Recent research shows public transit generates $4 in economic benefits for every $1 invested and directly recoups 64% of the cost in additional tax revenue. Illinois can't afford to pass opportunities like that if it's going to grow its economy and close the deficit. Unfortunately, Rauner's budget sticks to an outdated agenda.

Luckily for now, Rauner's proposal remains just that. At MHSRA we are launching a special campaign to organize allies around Illinois to stand up to Rauner and make sure these cuts don't become law. I'd like to ask you to join me today to help save our train service.

A donation of just $15 will go directly to organizing local allies. Can you help us ensure Illinois and the Midwest remain nationwide leaders in passenger rail?


Julius Parod
Manager of Communications

Last Week at MHSRA:

We began our campaign against Governor Rauner's proposed budget cuts by working with allies and collecting comments in favor of increased passenger train investment. If you live in Illinois and haven't already, please tell Rauner and your elected representatives to not cut Amtrak funding.

Illinois Senator Clayborne introduced a bill to fund a Tier I EIS for a Chicago-Champaign-East St. Louis/Indianapolis high-speed line. Check it out here.

Executive Director Rick Harnish traveled to Washington, D.C. to hold meetings with key Midwestern policy-makers and coordinate with other pro-rail organizations.

We're looking for volunteers to help us spread the word by assisting with mailings and representing MHSRA at public events. Please contact Shira at to learn how you can help.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Rauner wants to cut Amtrak service
Good overview of some of the implications of Rauner's budget.

CTA, Pace brace for Rauner's proposed $130 million cuts
Cuts could threaten improvements made in recent years.

4 Things to Know as Transportation Bill Negotiations Heat Up
MHSRA's Rick Harnish is quoted.

Push for transportation bill faces a couple of speed bumps
There's disagreement over role of transit, alternative modes.

Upcoming Events:

February 25th (Wednesday, 2 PM) - Senate Transportation Hearing on Chicago-Rockford Amtrak Route. Zeke Giorgi Building, 200 S. Wyman, Rockford IL. This is a tremendous opportunity to show your support for expanded Amtrak service.

March 21st - Annual Spring Meeting in Chicago, IL. See presentations by public officials and transportation experts from across the Midwest.

April 29th - Illinois Railroad Summit in Springfield, IL. Save the date; more details to follow.

A donation of $15 or more today will go directly towards saving Illinois' trains. Will you join us at this critical time?

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