Durbin Launches Bipartisan Midwest High Speed Rail Caucus

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that formation of a bipartisan, bicameral Midwest Congressional High Speed Rail Caucus to advance the Midwest’s plan for high speed rail. The Caucus will also provide an avenue to keep members of Congress and staff educated and engaged on the Midwest’s effort by hosting briefings on relevant issues such as reviving the domestic rolling stock manufacturing industry and expanding Amtrak service to new cities and towns. Durbin co-chair the Caucus with Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Representatives Jim Oberstar (D-MN) and Tom Petri (R-WI).


“There is an enormous demand for high speed rail funding across the nation,” said Durbin. “By working together in Congress, we can increase our chances of bringing a modern passenger rail system to the Midwest. Achieving this goal will make us competitive in the global economy and bring billions of dollars worth of new economic activity to the heartland of the nation.”


The Chicago Hub Network includes rail lines in eight states – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. It is one of ten major rail corridors identified nationwide as part of the Administration’s vision for transforming the nation’s transportation system. Each corridor is eligible to receive federal funding for projects to rebuild existing rail infrastructure and launch new high-speed rail service under the Recovery Act.


Durbin has actively brought together federal, state and local leaders around an effort to bring high speed rail to Illinois and the Midwest. Most recently, on July 27th Durbin, Governor Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley hosted Midwest Governors, Amtrak and rail executives in Chicago for a Midwest High Speed Rail Summit. There, they announced an agreement between the eight states to work cooperatively to achieve funding from the Recovery Act to develop the Midwest corridor. In addition, they agreed to establish a multi-state steering group to coordinate the region’s work and provide a single voice in support of the region’s collective high speed rail priorities.


The Recovery Act designates $8 billion to high speed passenger rail – a significant investment which is 17 times more funding than the federal government has invested over the last 10 years combined. The American Association of Railroads estimates that every dollar spent on investments in our nation’s railroads — tracks, equipment, locomotives, bridges — yields $3 in economic output. In addition, each $1 billion of rail investment creates roughly 20,000 jobs.