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Conservative group blasts high-speed rail plans

(The Associated Press circulated the following on July 10, 2009.)

CHICAGO — A Chicago-based conservative group is blasting plans to spend federal stimulus money on high-speed rail in Illinois and elsewhere around the country.

Some $8 billion is set aside in the federal stimulus bill to pay for high- speed rail. Illinois wants a slice of that to develop high-speed service on several routes, including between St. Louis and Chicago.

But an Illinois Policy Institute report argues the federal effort to construct high-speed networks will end up costing at least $90 billion. Over the long term, it says the costs will run into the hundreds of billions.

It says Illinois should focus instead on incremental improvements, including upgrading railroad crossings.

Advocates say high-speed rail will reduce pollution and road congestion.

Monday, July 13, 2009

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