Midwest High-Speed Rail Group Starts Lobby Push for House’s $4B Bill

mrri_new_2.jpgMap of the proposed midwest high-speed rail system. (Photo: TrainWeb.org)

Congress agrees that the White House’s ambitious high-speed rail plan should be funded next year — but the House is pushing for $2.8 billion more than the Senate, setting up a high-stakes battle that rail advocates want the House to win.

Enter the Midwest High-Speed Rail Association (MHSRA), a non-profit group pushing for a high-speed rail network that would use Chicago as a hub and ultimately extend through eight states.

The MHSRA already has savvy allies on the Hill and a coordinated network of governors, but it recently added a website that helps voters track how their House members voted on next year’s high-speed rail budget. That sort of on-the-ground lobbying could prove crucial as Appropriations Committee members from both chambers of Congress convene next month to hash out a final deal.

Yet the midwest is not the only region where lawmakers are working overtime to give their home districts a leg up in high-speed rail funding. House Democrats from upstate New York earmarked $4.6 million for local rail improvements in the same bill that gives $4 billion to a high-speed system, while six New England governors have formed an alliance along the lines of the MHSRA.

  • Thanks for the coverage Elena. This is the first big test for 2010 of whether the Senate will share the bold vision of President Obama and the House and support a significant investment in high speed rail. We launched this site in the hope that advocates from around the nation will join in building the consensus that the Senate should join the House in spending $4 billion on high speed rail in FY2010. We list every state, not just the Midwest, so every American who wants high speed rail can tell their legislators.

    Really, we should be spending $10 or $15 billion a year on high speed rail if we want to shift more of our intercity travel from oil to electricity, so moving from $1.2 billion to $4 billion in FY2010 is the right direction.

    Anyway, thanks again!

  • S. D.

    Service to Port Huron and Detroit is not that good if there isn’t a direct connection to Toronto on Via Rail.
    I thought the Twin Cities service would be routed through Madison and Eau Claire.
    Why isn’t the Duluth service on the map?

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