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Study: High-speed rail could support 57,000 permanent jobs in the Midwest

(The following story by Jackie Headapohl appeared at Mlive.com on September 20, 2010.)

DETROIT, Mich. — Constructing a Midwestern passenger high-speed rail system would create more than 57,000 permanent jobs in the Midwest and support 15,200 jobs during the 10 years that the system would be under construction.

That's the findings of a study released yesterday by WISPIRG (Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group), a public interest advocacy group that supports high-speed rail. The study examines the benefits of a high-speed rail system in eight states: Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.

“As the saying goes, 'you are either part of the problem, or part of the solution,'” said Bruce Speight, WISPIRG director. “High-speed rail is a part of the solution – boosting our economy and creating jobs, modernizing our transportation system and helping to solve our nation’s oil dependency, worsening congestion and pollution. High-speed rail gets us moving in the right direction.”

The report states that Michigan would benefit by providing a "faster connection for economically battered cities like Detroit and Flint to Chicago, creating new possibilities for economic development and recovery."

The federal government has allocated more than $2.7 billion in funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act for rail projects in six Midwestern states. The study's recommends that Midwestern states continue to coordinate their efforts to make high-speed rail a reality in the region.

“With a long history of bi-partisan support, high-speed rail should be embraced for what it is – a critical step towards modernizing our transportation system, creating jobs and growing our economy, and reducing our dependence on oil,” said Speight.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

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