12/24/2010

Ohio and Wisconsin Reject High-Speed Rail

The two state's incoming Republican governors, John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin both swore to oppose high-speed rail for their states.  Getting their wish, the $1.2 billion they had been promised is now being redistributed among the 13 other states with rail projects in the works.  This unfortunate news is however good news for the rest of the country.  Building high-speed lines in these states would eventually connect them to a larger network with Chicago as the Hub City.  Other connections would be from Milwaukee to Madison to Minneapolis/St. Paul which would then integrate to a whole Midwestern network of rail systems. Ohio would have built a $400 million route traveling diagonally across the state from cleveland, through Columbus, then on to Cincinnati.  There would however be no initial link to the Chicago hub which would include a link down to Kansas City and St. Louis or Western Pennsylvania, but that doesn't mean future links to the midwestern network were not planned.

High-Speed Rail in Japan

High-Speed Rail in Taiwan
Sources speculate that the new Republican governors were opposed to receiving the money mostly on an anti- Washington- spending basis, which was the central narrative of the midterm election.  This rebellion of course only hurt their states in the long run, leaving themselves less competitive and disconnected from large quantities of human capital set to drive the economies of the Midwestern Megaregion.

The money is now being redistributed to states that are willing to cooperate with Washington, and invest in their own infrastructure.  By rejecting the funds they have not removed any tax burden from their state.  The money promised was grant money not loan money so no matter what the outcome, it had to be spent.  In the long run this network will grow and grow connecting itself to the greater midwest, the Northeast corridor and southern regions.

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