Federal, state, and
local leaders gathered today in
“A 21st century rail system in Illinois will create jobs and
drive economic development throughout the Midwest, while making travel across
Illinois faster, safer and more reliable,” Governor Quinn said. The Governor
added that high-speed rail is “coming to
The train ate up the 15 mile stretch of track in a mere 6 minutes, but it represents years of hard work and planning. Since the project began in 2010, crews have laid more than 2.5 million linear feet of rail, spread nearly 1.3 million tons of ballast to help provide a more stable roadbed, and installed nearly 620,000 concrete ties. Workers also installed state-of-the-art signaling systems. The project has created 6,000 jobs so far, a boon to a construction industry still feeling the negative effects of the recession.
Crews will continue to improve the corridor, with work on
schedule to introduce 110 mph service on 75 percent of the Chicago-St. Louis
corridor by 2015. When completed, the improvements
will shave an hour off the total trip time between the two cities. That’s an
important improvement for a state that has seen ridership on Amtrak’s four
"Amtrak is a lynchpin in Illinois mass transportation
and a vital component in the economic development of communities from Chicago
to St. Louis, and with ridership up 6 percent this year, its popularity only
continues to grow," U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said.
"Recognizing high-speed rail's outstanding potential to create jobs and
drive growth, as well as our state's leading role in transportation
infrastructure, the federal government invested close to $2 billion out of a
total $8 billion made available nationwide through the Recovery Act into
Illinois projects. High-speed trains will help move residents quickly and
comfortably across the state and ensure
The cost of transportation is weighing ever more heavily on families, according to a study released by the Center for Housing Policy and the Center for Neighborhood Technology, which found that the cost of getting around rose faster then income did in the previous decade.
“It’s really important that we stop thinking about our policy in separate silos: housing over here, transportation over there and the environment over there,” Executive Director Jeffrey Lubell of the Center for Housing Policy told Politico. “We have to link them together and think about how do we lower the combined costs? People don’t live in silos.”
The study describes how transportation costs are hitting middle- and working-class families the hardest:
Housing and transportation costs rose faster than income during the 2000s, increasing the burden that these costs placed on already stretched budgets. This held true for each of the 25 largest metropolitan areas, though the disparity was greater in some areas than others. For all households, including homeowners who have paid off their mortgage, housing and transportation together consumed an average of 48 percent of the median household's income by decade's end.
For households earning 50 to 100 percent of the median income of their metropolitan area, nearly three-fifths (59 percent) of income goes to housing and transportation costs. For these households, the growing costs of place are particularly burdensome, leaving relatively little left over for expenses such as food, education, and health care, not to mention savings.
The two organizations identify a number of ways to reduce the combined costs of housing and transportation for families, including preserving affordable housing near existing and planned transit stations, job centers, and other places where transportation costs are low; and including affordable housing within new development that takes place in intermodal transportation nodes. A robust train network serving intermodal train stations will certainly be part of that solution.
Amtrak has remains cautiously optimistic that a funding solution can be found.
“October 2013 is quite a ways from now,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. “It’s not a done deal.”
“Amtrak provides a vital transportation service to this country, often serving as the only intercity travel mode in many of the communities we serve,” said President and CEO Joe Boardman. “We also benefit hundreds of local economies by supporting jobs, increasing tourism and stimulating economic development.”
Boardman was quick to point out that Amtrak is a lifeline for a number of small communities. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of Americans for whom Amtrak service is the only intercity transportation option tripled in just five years, due to declining intercity bus and air service coverage.
officials gathered to celebrate the opening of three new
The project was a join effort between the Caltrans Division of Rail, Amtrak, the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“Train travel in
Despite its reputation as a region dominated by automobiles,
train service has risen from six daily trains to 22 daily trains since Caltrans
began managing the Pacific Surfliner
corridor, helping the Californian corridor become the second busiest in the
The work restored three tracks and a platform that were removed around 35 years ago.
"We'd be suing based upon the lack of completeness, or the lack of thoroughness in the draft environmental impact report," assistant to the city manager Steve Teglia told Bakersfield Eyewitness News. Teglia added that the city has “always been upfront with the Authority what these impacts are, but we've never been able to get information from them in terms of how they plan to mitigate or work around these impacts."
Many supporters of the 220 mph
"There's been kind of a reset," said Marvin Dean,
a member of Kern Supporters of High Speed Rail. "The Authority has come
here in good faith to show that they want to work with the city and the
Supporters of the project argue that population growth means
the line will go ahead regardless of their objections. The sate of
"What that does is put us in a bad light in terms of being able to get leverage with the High Speed Rail Authority to make sure this project is going to benefit our community," said Dean.
Check out the California High Speed Rail Blog for more.