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High-speed rail headed to Midwest before California, Oberstar says

A high-speed rail proposal will be launched first in the Midwest, not California, if Rep. Jim Oberstar has any say in the matter.

And he does, as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

He told the Mesabi Daily News that the Midwest is far ahead of California in terms of planning for the rail initiative.

“This really should be called the Rudy Perpich high-speed initiative. The former governor (of Minnesota from Hibbing) and I talked about it back in 1989 and ’90. I think it’s looking very good for the Midwest to get the high-speed initiative,” Oberstar said in an interview with the paper.

Federal officials have said that the Midwestern states’ proposal and one from California are the leading candidates for $8 billion in stimulus money for a new high-speed rail project. One official cited the cooperation of eight Midwest states to formulate a network plan with Chicago as a hub and 12 metropolitan areas — including the Twin Cities — within a 400-mile radius.

Said the paper:

Oberstar compares it to the hub-and-spoke airline system, with a few major hubs and several arterial sites connected to them. The proposed Duluth-to-Twin Cities Northern Lights Express would be considered a feeder line to the Twin Cities. But Oberstar said the Northern Lights Express project, which has been moving ahead for a few years now, is not reliant on the stimulus package high-speed money.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/30/2009 - 08:52 am.

    I don’t know what Oberstar is smoking. First, the “high speed” rail he’s talking about for the Midwest is high speed in name only, I think it’ll go as fast as 110 miles an hour, this is snail pace in the realm of “high speed” rail. Japan’s first bullet train entered service 50 years ago at speeds of 140 MPH. The California HSR will actually be a French bullet train traveling at over 200 MPH.

    Second, the funding and time line for California’s HSR is the same. There’s was a nice piece on California/US high speed rail in the New York Times Magazine a couple weeks ago.

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