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How High-Speed Rail Can Gain Momentum in the Midwest

By • Aug 21st, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Daily Snapshots, Rail and Public Transits

In a guest column on DesMoinesRegister.com, Howard Lerner, Executive Director of the Environment Law & Policy Center, gave some ideas on how Midwest high-speed rail can succeed. Here are some of Mr. Lerner’s arguments on why he thinks high-speed rail is moving toward reality:

  • On July 27, eight Midwest governors signed a memorandum of understanding, committing to combine regional and state planning and development work, prioritize corridor build-outs and coordinate applications for federal funding.
  • There is a new bipartisan Midwest Congressional High-Speed Rail Caucus.
  • High-speed rail will “will improve mobility with a new, fast, comfortable and convenient transportation option.”
  • It will create jobs and spur economic growth by pulling together the regional economy.
  • It will protect our environment through less pollution, reducing congestion and counteracting sprawl by pulling jobs, people and businesses downtown into our central cities.
  • There is broad national support for high-speed rail development. Forty states have proposed 278 projects seeking $102 billion in federal funding. In addition to the $8 billion in federal economic-stimulus funding, the House has now appropriated $4 billion more for fiscal year 2010 and has proposed $50 billion in the federal transportation reauthorization legislation.

While some of these reasons may be arguable, high-speed rail is moving forward with serious funding announced by President Obama (see “President Obama Unveils High-Speed Passenger Rail Plan for Ten Corridors.”) Among the factors Mr. Lerner believe will help push Midwest high-speed rail projects forward are the following:

  • Citizens need to speak with “one voice” for “one region.” While he writes mostly about Midwest states, this simple yet often-forget and important point is the required beginning of any successful project.
  • Do not let perfection stand in the way of progress. We tend to look for the best solutions, but a better way is to practice due diligence and move on to the goals. Inaction equals waste and hinders development and advancement.
  • Always look at the big picture. The high-speed rail projects are not only about trains. They are about mobility, job creation, economic development, growth, vitalization, and competitiveness, in addition to habitable communities, lower pollution and cleaner environment.

We can take these 3 important points and apply to anything in life and expect a good chance for success. Great advice..

See the original article: “Let’s help high-speed rail gain momentum.”

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