State leaders need to recognize the perverse effects

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Unformatted text preview: ecting the Midwest, - How a Faster Passenger Rail Network Could Speed Travel and Boost the Economy,” Accessed 6/9/12] SM The federal government will necessar- ily be the largest source of financing for high-speed rail construction. In filling that role, federal policymakers should aim to bind state and regional projects together as pieces of a national vision for transportation, and also take advantage of their position to ensure that investments in high-speed rail result in the highest quality system possible. Midwestern lead- ers—whether at the state level, or as mem- bers of Congress—should push the federal government to hold to these principles, and where appropriate commit their own states to corresponding actions. America’s passenger rail system is in its current sorry shape largely because of the failure to adequately invest in maintaining and upgrading the system over the last half century. During a postwar period in which America built tens of thousands of miles of gleaming new expressways and hundreds of airports, our rail system was allowed to deteriorate such that today, at the beginning of the 21st century, we still rely, in some places, on infrastructure dating from before the Civil War. Trips can take far longer today than they did in the past; in 1950 travelers from Chicago to Minneapolis would arrive in four hours aboard the Olympian Hiawatha, but today the same trip takes eight...
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