Monday, October 15, 2012

Our Link to the West

Michigan's Department of Transportation is takng part in a study of the rail corridor that connects Michigan with the West: the stretch of track between Porter, Indiana, and Chicago. They have asked for public input as part of the Federal study of alternatives, and here's what I had to say:

I submit this comment as a concerned member of the traveling public, and as someone who would like Michigan to be a prosperous, well-connected state for my grandchildren and their generation.

Rapid, reliable passenger rail is a critical link in providing a sustainable future for coming generations, given the growing economic and environmental cost for air and highway travel. The Chicago-Porter segment is a vital part of Michigan's link not only to Chicago but to the entire West of the United States. And this is true not only for us in Michigan, but for Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New England, and Indiana itself. Further, it is a key to making Michigan an active link with Ontario, Quebec, and the maritime provinces of Canada.

Given this critical role, the Chicago-Porter corridor study must include consideration of fully high-speed rail with speeds up to 220 MPH. Given today's economic realities, such speeds may not be practical in the immediate future. However, it is essential that the corridor's initial engineering studies be conducted with these higher speeds as the ultimate goal. Decisions which preclude 220 MPH speeds over most of the corridor must be excluded from the final alternatives. To include suboptimal alternatives would jeopardize Michigan's future position as a transportation leader, and seriously impede our grandchildren's access to a prosperous economic future.

You can submit a comment too - if you do it TODAY, October 15. Midwest High Speed Rail Association has provided a direct link to do that: Click here to submit your comment!

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