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Weekly Newsletter: High-Speed Rail - An Opportunity for Better Transit

November 10, 2014

Midwesterners who want better public transit should pay attention to an unlikely role model.

Texas, known better for its love of the automobile, is moving forward on what they hope will be America’s first operational high-speed rail
line. The proposed bullet train between Dallas and Houston is a private enterprise in association with Japanese high-speed rail. The project’s planners recently announced route alternatives, and major decision-makers have taking notice.

In response to the route alternatives, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) just decided to accelerate transit projects in downtown Dallas. The goal is to complete upgrades including a new light rail line and streetcar service by the time the bullet train is finished. DART is quickening these plans to convince the high-speed rail planners (Texas Central) to choose the route alternative that terminates in downtown Dallas over two other more distant options. Texas Central has stated a preference for locating the new station near public transit connections.

The confluence of high-speed rail and public transit in Dallas shows how the two are so inextricably linked. A high-speed rail line can be the impetus for significant transit expansion because it can bring in millions of additional riders, and make the surrounding transit services more useful and attractive. Additionally, though not the case in Dallas, infrastructure from new high-speed rail projects can often be directly used by existing commuter trains.
It's exciting to see other projects, like Dallas' new light rail or the Bay Area's Caltrain electrification, gain momentum because of high-speed rail. We shouldn't be surprised if high-speed rail makes all the difference for other American transit projects too.
Until next week,

Julius Parod
Manager of Communications

Last Week at MHSRA:

Phil Washington, the chair of APTA, joined us for a business luncheon and shared his experience and vision with rail supporters, transportation officials and business leaders. Read more here.

The Southwest Conference of Mayors (representing Chicago’s Southwest Suburbs) just passed a resolution in favor of CrossRail Chicago. Check out the full resolution here.

MHSRA Executive Director Rick Harnish gave a presentation on CrossRail Chicago to the Aviation Committee of the Will County Board.

On the Blog:

November 4th Event: Phil Washington and the future of American Transportation

Articles We Enjoyed:

Tale of the tape: Amtrak is more comfortable than airlines.
This writer loves being able to travel and work – at the same time. Why do you prefer the train?

Amtrak adds 18 trains in MI for Thanksgiving
Increase in frequency increases ridership.

When Your Plane Is A Train: Taking A Flight With Lufthansa’s AIRail Service
Amtrak could offer this service by extending trains to O’Hare airport. This is only possible if the City of Chicago designs the new airport station correctly. Learn more at

China is on track to build high-speed rail in just about every corner of the world
Mexico, The U.K., Iran and Kenya are just a couple of the countries China is working with.

Upcoming Events:

November 17th - TMACOG Passenger Rail Forum in Toledo, OH. A panel of transportation and public policy experts will present news and outline trends.

November 18th – CREATE: Freight Driving the Economy hosted by MPC in Chicago. Speakers will include Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and IL Rep. Elaine Nekritz.

November 21st - Terminal Town Banquet at Maggiano's in downtown Chicago. Depaul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development is raising awareness of Chicago's extraordinary role as a center of U.S. passenger transportation.

Enjoy our weekly newsletter? Help keep it going with a donation of $15 or more today.

Julius Parod
Midwest High Speed Rail Association
4765 N. Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
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