WASHINGTON–President Obama on Thursday–before leaving for Mexico–highlighted his plans for a massive investment to develop high speed rail networks in the U.S.– a potential very big deal for Chicago.
Under Obama’s “vision” for high speed rail, Chicago is in the running to be the center of a hub network linking Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Louisville.
“What we’re talking about is a vision for high-speed rail in America. Imagine boarding a train, in the center of a city, no racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes,” Obama said.
(Yes, because Amtrak has never had a dealy or lost a piece of baggage?)
Obama discussed his high speed plans this morning with Vice President Biden and Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has also been involved in developing high speed rail policy.
Nothing happens without legwork. Chicago’s Environmental Law & Policy Center, founded by Howard Learner has been doing extensive work in pushing the nation forward on high speed rail in Congress and in the Obama administration.
And now the cost . . .
” To make this happen, we’ve already dedicated $8 billion of Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to this initiative, and I’ve requested another $5 billion over the next five years. The Department of Transportation expects to begin awarding funds to ready projects before the end of this summer, well ahead of schedule. And like all funding decisions under the Recovery Act, money will be distributed based on merit — not on politics, not as favors, not for any other consideration; purely on merit.”
The problem is nobody is talking about the total cost of the system. $13 billion gets the nation pregnant. Raising this baby costs how much more?