9.12.10

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR. The incoming Republican governors of Wisconsin and Ohio asked to cancel Passenger Rail projects, but also asked to keep the money for road improvements. The national government awarded the money to Passenger Rail projects in other states instead.

California will get the largest share of the money ($624 million), with the rest going to Florida ($342.3 million), Washington ($161.5 million), and Illinois ($42.3 million).

Smaller amounts will go to nine other states.

The Illinois allocation is for additional improvements to the GM&O line to St. Louis (which has been home to occasional 90 mph or 110 mph speed tests, but as of yet no speeded up schedules.)

Wisconsin will keep an appropriation of $2 million for improvements between Lake and Ranney that might permit improvements on the 1938 timings. Apparently some other improvements to the Milwaukee service are budgeted as the Madison extension.
Wisconsin also was allowed to retain up to $2 million to fund upgrades on Amtrak's existing Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha line. But that won't cover the $19.4 million cost of renovating the train shed at Milwaukee's downtown Amtrak-Greyhound station or the $52 million cost of building a new maintenance base for two newly purchased trains, two projects that would have been included in the original $810 million budget.
Minnesota still wants faster passenger service to Chicago, but the routing is yet to be determined.

2 comments:

David Karlson said...

Minnesota already has the Empire Builder running from Minneapolis to Chicago. Remove the federal speed limit and crack the throttles open a little farther. Voila! High speed rail right through Wisconsin! And, we didn't have to increase the federal deficit by a billion dollars to do it.

Stephen Karlson said...

One train a day timed in such a way as to provide a day local across the northern tier of North Dakota and Minnesota is not what the Minnesotans are after. If the route is going to go through Wisconsin, Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Madison will all want a piece of the action, and if it goes on the Empire Builder line, somebody's going to have to pay for a second track from Brookfield to La Crosse to provide the additional capacity.