Fairfield, IA – The head of Amtrak's Board of Directors says current services must be improved before high speed rail can be brought to the Midwest.
Chairman Tom Carper says Amtrak will update and upgrade its equipment with around $1.3-billion in federal stimulus funding. He says the money will go towards train station improvements, track repairs, and rail cars enhancements.
Carper says Amtrak will also try to eliminate the causes for train delays. He says cutting 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there will get a passenger to their destination quicker without exceeding 79 mph.
Carper says Amtrak will continue to look for corridors that could handle 120 mph trains. He says the dream of the 180-200 mph train in the United States must be approached on an incremental basis.
Carper says Amtrak will also be heavily involved in utilizing $8-billion dollars that states will compete for to improve rail services. Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri are part of a coalition of Midwestern States applying for funding.
Several proposed corridors include Chicago to Iowa City and Chicago to St. Louis.
The Midwest is also proposing "green" lines that use paperless tickets and renewable fuels.
Carper made his comments during the recent Tri-State Development Summit in Fairfield, IA. He is the former mayor of Macomb, IL.