Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stimulus Bill: Mass Transit Compromises cont.

Yesterday we spoke about some compromises that needed to be hashed out between the House and Senate in regards to Mass Transit funding. Greg Hinz at Crain's has a new post about rumors on what happened and how this will affect the Chicagoland area. Unfortunately, it sounds like the CTA and Metra won't get as much as they were asking for. Ditto for O'Hare.

According to the article the big surprises were funds allocated to High Speed Rail development and Amtrack:
The one local winner in the last-minute bargaining appears to be Amtrak.

It will get $850 million for capital grants and $450 million for security upgrades, a portion of which will end up here.

But the big money was a surprise $8 billion added for development of high-speed rail.

While President Barack Obama says the bill will contain no earmarks, word out of Washington is that Mr. Reid is in line to get that much of that money for a high-speed line from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. If so, it will be particularly interesting to see what Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin -- Reid's number two and big advocate of Midwest high-speed rail -- has to say about it.

Mr. Reid is up for re-election next year, and is facing an uphill battle to retain his seat. According to Nevada media, he last summer secured $45 million in federal funds for preliminary environmental work on teh proposed $12-billlion magnetic levitation (maglev) line.

So we will see what develops with that battle, but in the mean time here is a map detailing what the Midwest high speed rail network could look like (realize some tracks already exist, it would just be improving them to accommodate higher speed trains, among other things):

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