Monday, May 18, 2009

High-Speed Rail

There was some good media coverage last week out of St. Louis about the Illinois DOT reaching an agreement with Union Pacific on implementing high-speed rail between Chicago - St. Louis. This is good for Missouri's St. Louis - Kansas City service because as their service gets faster and more reliable, it will mean better connections for Missouri riders and more pressure to improve our service. One thing to keep in mind is that the St. Louis - Chicago line has less freight train volume (5-10 trains / day) than our St. Louis - Kansas City line (50-60 trains / day). MoDOT has been a planning partner with Illinois DOT and seven other Mid-western states since 1996 on the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, which provides a template for all improvements being discussed. Illinois's news is good, we wish them well, and will be hopefully following closely behind!

Brian Weiler, MoDOT Multimodal Director


Norm Lucas said...

While Union Pacific is planning $15 millien in track improvements between St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, MODOT has an opportunity to relieve congestion on parallel higways. If MODOT would help St. Francois County gain an Amtrack station at Bismarck on that UPRR line, commuters would be able to travel via train sometimes instead of perpetually congesting I-55, Mo. 21 and US 67. The Bismarck station already exists on the main line, and would only require modest improvement. Petitioning Amtrack to stop there regularly must be less expensive than continually adding lanes to the parallel highways. Bismarck and the rest of the cities in St. Francois County support the idea.

Anonymous said...

The counties may support the idea. But will they support the project financially by paying sufficient taxes to fund the job?

I do not live in your area and I don't want my taxes being increased so that a few squeaky wheels can get their mass transit - a system that few will ride and most will not care about.

All you have to do is look at StL and KC and see how the voters said NO to tax increases for mass transit. The loud minority wants trains and buses, and the majority does not want to suffer through increased taxes to pay for the pipedreams.