Monday, April 06, 2009

Midwest higher speed initiative gets FRA grant

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As interest and opportunities grow in operating higher speed trains on existing freight and passenger rail corridors, the Federal Railroad Administration has awarded a $297,000 Intercity Capital Grant to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for Midwest Regional Rail Initiative to planning.

MWRRI is a 3,000-mile system envisioned to provide improved intercity passenger rail service in nine states with a combined population of 60 million people, using Chicago as a regional hub. The MWRRI member states will match the $297,000 grant. The project includes an alternative routes analysis; system cost updates; equipment, train control, and operational plans; and preparation of public outreach materials. Corridors include Chicago-Porter, Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland, Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati, Chicago-Champaign-Carbondale, St. Louis-Jefferson City-Kansas City, Chicago-Quincy/Des Moines-Omaha, and Chicago-Milwaukee-Minneapolis/St. Paul-Green Bay.

FRA awarded the grant under its FY 2008 Capital Assistance to States-Intercity Passenger Rail Service Program. The grant is separate from the grants for high speed rail under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Guidance for competitive grants under ARRA is still under development.