INDIANAPOLIS - On behalf of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, Indiana requested $2.8 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to plan, build and launch high-speed rail service from Chicago to Cleveland. A copy of the application is available on the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Web site at http://indot.IN.gov/3064.htm.
"With the support of our counterparts in Chicago and Ohio, INDOT submitted one application that Indiana believes stands the greatest chance of being approved by the Federal Rail Administration," said INDOT Commissioner Michael W. Reed.
If approved, initial environmental and feasibility studies would fully consider two routes through Indiana, either a northern route with proposed stops in South Bend, Elkhart and Waterloo or a southern route with proposed stops in Plymouth, Warsaw and Fort Wayne. Both routes would also include a proposed stop near Gary.
ARRA, commonly known as the federal stimulus package, provides an $8 billion initial investment in high-speed intercity passenger rail, followed by an additional $1 billion a year for five years. In August INDOT requested $71.4 million in final design and construction funds to improve the congested Norfolk Southern rail line that connects Chicago to Detroit through northwest Indiana. The Federal Rail Administration anticipates announcing grant awards this winter.
Indiana is one of nine member states in the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, an ongoing effort to develop and expand access to an improved passenger rail system in the Midwest. This proposed system would provide high-speed rail service of 80 to 110 miles per hour with shorter travel times, increased frequency of service, accessibility and reliability. Other participating states are Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
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