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Weekly Newsletter: Senate Passes DRIVE Act

August 03, 2015

On Thursday, the Senate passed a long-term transportation bill, known as the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act. This six-year bill was a bi-partisan effort, crafted by Senators James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Barbara Boxer (D-California).

After sending the DRIVE Act to the House, the Senate passed a three-month patch for transportation funding.  This was sent to the oval office and signed by President Obama Friday, July 31st. The President is in favor of a long-term solution and stated that, "we can't keep on funding transportation by the seat of our pants.”

This patch beat the July 31st deadline and gives the House until October 29th to prepare and pass their long-term bill. They plan to begin working on the transportation bill in September, after the August Recess.

There are a number of sticking points in the bill that could make progress difficult in the coming months. Rail Safety is one of these issues as there are concerns about language that extends the deadline for installing Positive Train Control (PTC). Many spectators are concerned that another extension will be the result come the end of October.

Best,

Dylan Hayward
Manager of Communications

Last Week at MHSRA:

We facilitated a press conference (pictured above) in Springfield, Illinois where representatives spoke out against proposed Amtrak budget cuts. Sixteen mayors, four universities and many more community leaders signed a letter asking Governor Rauner not to cut vital Amtrak service to their communities. This was a bi-partisan effort with support coming from leaders in Macomb, Quad Cities, Galesburg and Champaign-Urbana, among other cities that depend on Amtrak. You can read more about the event here: Illinois Leaders Stand Up to Support Amtrak or view the Letter to Governor Rauner.

Articles We Enjoyed:

Spain likely to study Mumbai-Howrah high speed rail route
"Currently the travel time between Mumbai and Howrah is over 26 hours onthe Duronto express and it is expected to be reduced to less than half with the operation of the proposed high-speed train."

Amtrak testing retractable platform at Ann Arbor train station
"The Amtrak station in Ann Arbor is testing a retractable platform designed to make it easier and faster for people with wheelchairs, strollers or luggage to get on and off trains."

How Maryland Officials Hope To Cut D.C. To Baltimore Commute To Just 15 Minutes
“Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is pursuing next-generation high speed rail through a partnership with the private sector and Japanese government."

Hudson Tunnel Plan Gets Sudden Attention After Commuter Meltdown
"After years in limbo, the Gateway rail-tunnel project under the Hudson River is having a moment....Both states agree that a new tunnel is crucial to avoid damaging the economy of the nation’s largest city and its prosperous western suburbs"

Finding the Silver Bullet for Japan’s Train Dilemma
“Japan has the safest, most punctual high-speed rail system in the world, but the country is struggling to convince others to adopt its technology.”

Let's improve the Hiawatha train service
"The Hiawatha Service, which runs from Chicago-Milwaukee, remains the Midwest's most popular route, serving more than 800,000 passengers in 2014. Ridership is growing, with some trains over capacity. Faster, more frequent service would better connect the two largest cities in the region for commuters and recreational travelers alike."

Upcoming Events:

NARP Fall 2015 Council Membership Meeting in Indianapolis, IN October 17-18. Optional Tour of Amtrak's Beach Grove facility October 16. The meeting is open to all NARP members and other interested rail advocates.
Learn more here.

P3 Infrastructure Summit 2015 In New York City - October 14-15, 2015

Dylan Hayward
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
773-334-6758
Join today at MidwestHSR.org/Join-Us

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