Midwestern governors are all on board for high speed rail in the region. A letter (PDF) to the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood from Wisconsin's Governor Jim Doyle, seven other Midwestern governors and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, would seem to increase the region's chances for receiving millions of federal stimulus dollars to fund high speed rail.
"Getting eight governors and the mayor of Chicago to agree on lunch is a challenge," says Kevin Brubaker with the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago. "The fact that they all agreed on priorities on how to develop a Midwest high speed rail network is very good news."
Brubaker the bipartisan regional consensus is important, because the Midwest is competing with other regions for a share of that federal money. "Midwest governors are signaling that they're not going to compete with each other, over whose rail line goes first, but are going to work together to bring dollars back to the Midwest, and to invest those dollars in the Chicago region, where some of the more expensive, complicated work needs to happen to make this entire network succeed," says Brubaker. Milwaukee and Madison would be the first cities tied into the Chicago hub, if and when the 110 mile an hour service is built.