Thank you for allowing me to comment on the proposed Purpose and Need Statement for the Chicago to Detroit/Pontiac corridor project. The Association strongly supports this project.
We ask MDOT and its partners to consider broadening the proposed Purpose and Need Statement to more fully address the potential for high-speed trains to provide competitive travel options in this corridor.
In particular, since the Chicago – Porter, IN segment will require constructing new track, consideration should be given to a design that allows this to be the access point for 220-mph high-speed trains in the future.
For example, provisions for fixed-span bridges over the Calumet and Chicago Rivers should be included in the planning. Also, the new track should be constructed in such a way that it can be electrified later. The 20-year plan should include elimination of all highway grade-crossings.
Again, the Association fully supports the short-term goal of 110 mph service on this corridor. We commend MDOT for all the hard work that has gone into getting the service to its current standard, and in planning for the future. We simply want to make sure that current plans also take a long-term view, including the possibility of 220-mph trains on the segment west from Porter.