Although not Urban Indianapolis in nature, news came yesterdayÂ that the US DOT had taken back the $1.2 billion awarded to Wisconsin and Ohio earlier this year, and redistributed it to 13 states. The biggest benefactor’s of this money are California and Florida both of whom have robust andÂ TRUE high speed rail programs coming close to fruition.
Although small, Indiana is set to receive $365,000 of these funds to put towards the high speed rail link that was awarded $71 million earlier this year. Although not huge news, it bares examining what is planned for Indiana’s meager step into the high speed rail game.
According to Indiana’s grant application, the rail lines to be modified, are located in the extreme NW corner of the state between the town of Porter, and the Illinois state line. The modifications are being done to relieve an existing bottle neck of freight and passenger rail that currently use the line, and create a new line that would later be used for true high speed trains along a larger Midwest Network. From the document itself:
The Indiana Gateway project is situated on Norfolk Southern Railway’s (NSR) Chicago Line between Porter, Indiana and the Indiana/Illinois state line. It addresses the single most delay-prone intercity rail passenger corridor in the country, doing so in a way that provides both stand-alone congestion relief benefits as well as a path towards development of the lane as a high-speed corridor within the Chicago Hub Network. The project boundaries extend from CP-479 just east of Porter,IN, at railroad milepost CD 479.0, to the Indiana/Illinois state line at railroad milepost CD 508.3.
While many of us located down here in Indy are frustrated that a larger application was not put forth that would benefit Indianapolis, this is a step in the right direction when other states are choosing to give back stimulus money. At the crux of yesterday’s award are the recent election of Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio whom both ran on a platform of fiscal reform and both of whom made a big deal about sending the stimulus money back to Washington. Of course, they both tried, and may well retain legal help, to try and keep the money for roads and bridges, but it is unlikely that this will happen.
For more information regarding Indiana’s stake in the midwest high speed rail network, visit the INDOT information page.