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Missouri, Kansas Seeking High-Speed Rail Stimulus
A Japanese bullet train, or "Shinkansen" is an advanced version of what Kansas and Missouri would get to allow faster rail service between Kansas City and St Louis.

 Both Missouri and Kansas will submit
 applications for federal economic stimulus money for
 high-speed rail; and both applications would help keep
 Kansas City’s Union Station on track to recover some of
 its past passenger rail glory.

 The Obama Administration released its
 guidelines for applications for the money last week and
 transportation officials in both states have been poring
 over the more-than-60-page document.

 Missouri has been working out the
 outline of a “shovel-ready” application in talks with
 Amtrak and the Union Pacific Railroad, said Brian Weiler,
 multi-modal operations director for the Missouri Department
 of Transportation.

 “We were just waiting on the
 guidance,” Weiler said.

 Although MoDOT officials are still
 ironing out many of the details, the state will probably
 ask for $100 million to $150 million, he said.

 The foundation of Missouri’s application will be based on a
 two-year study done by the University of Missouri’s     engineering    school on the Amtrak route between St. Louis and Kansas City and has as its goal increasing the top speed of passenger trains from 79 miles an hour to 90 miles an hour and improving the on-time reliability of trains between the two cities.

 That study identified several bottlenecks on the route, which is on a Union Pacific mainline, mostly between Kansas City and Jefferson City.

“We're working on eliminating the bottlenecks,“ Weiler said.

 Union Pacific added another track on a bridge across the Gasconnade River and the state is adding a long passing track at California.

 The state has completed design work for
  a second passing track at Knob Noster and is working out issues
 involving a third passing track at Strasburg, he said.
 Adding another track to a bridge over the Osage River is
 also in the works, he said.

 MoDOT will ask the Missouri engineering
 school to do a followup study as well, he said.

 “The FRA (Federal Rail Administration)
 will be able to see exactly what they’ll be getting for
 their money if we get the dollars,” Weiler said.

 Kansas City is part of a national
 high-speed rail network proposed by the Obama

 However, competition for the high-speed economic stimulus   money will likely be fierce. Californiaand Florida voters approved ambitious high-speed rail networks tying together most large cities in those states and -- with an eye towards the thousands of jobs the
economic stimulus money is expected to create -- are expected to ask for sizeable chunks of the high-speed economic stimulus money to jump-start their plans.

  However, Missouri’s application will be competitive, Weiler said.
  Missouri is already paying for and started work on projects that    will be outlined in the application, he said.

Missouri’s application will also be realistic, he said.

 When many people think of high-speed, they think of the bullet trains of Japan or the “Big Orange” TGVs of France barreling across the landscape at 200 miles an hour.

 In the U.S., high speed is more a relative term, Weiler will tell you.  To reach the speeds of the fast Japanese
 and European trains, American trains would need dedicatedright-of-ways with no road crossings, heavy-duty rails, complex train control systems and special locomotives, cars and equipment, which could cost $30 million to $50 million a mile, he said. Raising the top speed along the route from the present  79 miles an hour to 90 miles an hour would be a major improvement in the passenger rail service, he said.     In previous conferences on high-speed rail, federal railroad authorities have emphasized that the economic stimulus money will be used for “capital
 expenses” rather for paying to run passenger trains.
 Weiler said the federal authorities also said they would be
 looking at states’ ability to subsidize or operate
 passenger trains when they award the economic stimulus
 grants for capital expenses.

 “Missouri has 30 years of a proven
 track record in supporting this line,” Weiler said of the
 route between St. Louis and Kansas City. The state
 subsidizes the Missouri Mule and Ann Rutledge trains that
 run between the two cities.

 Kansas is still working on a proposal
 that would have the best chance of attracting some of the   economic stimulus money,
 said Ron Kaufman, Kansas Department of Transportation
 spokesman and author of a study of rail passenger service in
 Kansas.    Kansas is sharing the cost of a
 feasibility study on extending the Heartland Flyer, which
 runs between Fort Worth, Texas, to Oklahoma City, to Newton,
 Kansas. Newton is on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe
 mainline that runs across Kansas. Newton is also where the
 Heartland Flyer would connect with the Southwest Chief that
 runs through Kansas City’s Union Station between Chicago
 and Los Angeles.

 Kaufman said connecting both passenger
 rail routes would be an important boost for both.KDOT’s preferred option is to ask for> approximately $10 million in economic stimulus money to
 change the automated rail traffic controls and highway
 crossing signals on BNSF tracks between the Oklahoma state
 line and Newton to allow passenger trains to use the tracks, Kaufman said.

 Presently, the speed limit for freight
 trains is 64 miles an hour, he said. The change-over would
 allow passenger trains running 79 miles an hour to use the
 tracks as well, he said.

 Changing the signal sequences to accommodate trains of differing speeds -- none of which can stop in a short time -- is a complicated and expensive process, he said.

 KDOT officials were also pleasantly surprised to find the new guidelines released by the Obama Administration include money for passenger rail planning, Kaufman said. The state is also looking at an application for planning funds, he said.

The first batch of paperwork in the three-step application process is due July 10.  Weiler and Kaufman said although their states are still looking at the details of the grant documents, both states will have their first paperwork ready by the deadline.


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Added: July 01, 2009. 11:58 AM CDT
This train is one that travels 200+
miles per hour it will not use bridges built for freight trains or Amtrack passenger trains. California will get the money because they have already gotten the whole deal set up between S.F. and L.A. and we are still talking about Lite Rail on Main Street in K.C. The backward mentality of the TRAIN BOYS in K. C. is part of the reason that we will be left out. Obama will never give a bunch of WHITE RAIl FOOLS money for transit.
Added: June 27, 2009. 09:53 AM CDT
Baby steps first
First extend the Heartland Flyer through to Kansas City and Omaha, while upgrading the Lincoln Service line to high speed capabilities. Then reinstitute the National Limited train from New York City to Kansas City via Washington, St. Cincinnati, and St. Louis, while upgrading the River Runner line to high speed, then look at HSR between OKC and KC and KC and Omaha. Kansas City has been a major passenger rail hub in the past, there is no reason why it shouldn't be re-established as one to ensure a healthy future for passenger rail travel in the midwest and great plains. Funding for some of these ideas could come from the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009, if we successfully lobby our congressmen to pass it.
Added: June 26, 2009. 08:30 PM CDT
Go for it!
We share your states enthusiasm in the Pacific Northwest.
High Speed Rail (HSR) is in our nations best interest as fuel prices begin their inevitable climb upwards in the future. Trains get much higher fuel economy per passenger mile than both planes and cars, while emitting far fewer green house gases. Emerging alternate energy sources will likely provide electricity – something our current fleet of autos, buses, and planes will find difficult to convert to. Rail lines are quite easily electrified.
Our fast tilt trains running between Vancouver, BC and Eugene, OR for the last 10 years have shown remarkable ridership gains each year. More than twice as many people now choose trains between Seattle and Portland than planes. Impressive results, given that our 125 mph trains have been limited to just 79 mph for lack of federally mandated track, and signal improvements along the corridor. We embrace President Obamas vision for future travel between medium distance cities in our nation.
Mike Skehan, Member, All Aboard Washington
Added: June 26, 2009. 12:15 PM CDT
June 26, 2009

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

FAX: 202-456-2461

Dear President Obama:

I am writing to suggest I be considered as a employee to get the High Speed Rail issue on track. I watched the Senate Hearing and I think it is apparent that we need some new blood and major forward thinking. I have worked on Rail Passenger Service in Missouri as a volunteer for 20 years. I have heard all the arguments against it like it is a waste of money. I always say hey have you ever seen a road that makes money?

Some of the comments were good from https://www.streetsblog.org/2009/06/24/the-high-speed-rail-numbers-game-is-13-billion-and-110-mph-enough/

Rendell suggested that a national infrastructure bank, independent of the government, should be tapped to direct money to high-speed rail proposals without political concerns influencing the process. "The public wants that," he said. "The public doesn’t want transportation dollars authorized through [the existing] system."

That outcome is highly unlikely, however, given that the federal DOT already has released its guidelines for an internal ranking of regional rail plans. And Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo was on hand to defend the administration's methods.

"Our vision matches, frankly, what they've done in Europe," Szabo told senators. Meanwhile, Rendell kept imploring the lawmakers to reconsider the Obama administration's 110-mph ballpark for defining what constitutes "high-speed".

With high-speed trains topping 200 mph in China and 160 in France, the governor said, "we're absolutely consigning ourselves to second-class citizenship" by setting the benchmark at 110 mph.

Tom Skancke, a member of the transportation revenue panel that last year called for a major gas-tax hike to fund system-wide reform, echoed Rendell's concerns with a call to publicly promote broad reform:

I don't think the nation as a whole has a plan for high-speed rail. ... The way we get there is, we have to sell the American public, particularly on rail, as we get people out of their horse and buggy. It is a cultural shift. We have to convince the American people that high-speed rail is going to be predictable, going to be on time, going to be affordable. ... We know what the alignment should look like. I just believe we need to step up and do it.

End of article quote.

I have 15 boxes of information about the rail issue and I think I have as good or better grasp than anyone in the nation since I have also promoted it on the national level too. I have included my resume for consideration.

I also watch your news conference and think you could not have done better! Thank you and have a great day.


Steven L. Reed

1441 South Estate Ave.

Springfield, MO 65804

[email protected]

Added: June 26, 2009. 11:51 AM CDT
Rail Service

Springfield, Missouri meeting March 11, 2009
Posted by patlynch in Amtrak, Regional USA Transportation, Transportatio Policy.
An astute reader posted a comment on last night’s (3/10/09) meeting in Springfield, Mo, which I have now mow moved to the front. (See, this is what could happen to you for writing something really informative.)

Springfield(MO) MoDOT held its proposed transportation meeting tonight. Local activist asked why the Rail Passenger Service was not included at any funding level? Steven Reed pointed out that just two years ago the highway department put out a press release supporting it.


Reed says that over ten years thousands of people have spoke out from Springfield to Branson to St. Louis and even The mayor of Branson, Raeanne Presley recently said she has always supported the Rail Passenger Service. “I say to people ac cross the State Rise up (St. Louis, Rolla, Lebanon, Springfield, Branson), and tell the people who always run the show that we want passenger rail service” Reed said. The people have no say and MODOT does not have any elected position like maybe the state director

Steven Reed also asked why Springfield, St. Louis, and Kansas City were on their maps as being non economically distressed area’s which meant they received less funding from the stimulus money. Also asked if mainly the jobs will go to the union workers and they agreed since they are all prevailing wage road projects. MoDOT said wages are high and unemployment low and that is why Springfield in NOT considered a economically distressed area and that all jobs created would be union and pre-veiling wage.

It is sad that Reed pointed out that he was the only member of the public at the meeting and KOLR10, KSPR, and The News-Leader avoided Reed in the room after the meeting and were even told by a MODOT employee to do so. The media does not want to talk to Reed after 20 years voluntary community projects and makes fun of him. Jim Anderwson of the Chamber in the past said he supports the rail passenger service —but said nothing to the media about it—is he about to retire?
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