Midwest Governors Pool High-Speed Rail Efforts

July 27, 2009

Governors from several Midwestern states convened in Chicago Monday to strategize on bringing high-speed rail to the region. They're now forming a "steering committee" to head up their efforts.

Members of the committee will come from eight Midwestern states, plus the city of Chicago, which they envision as the hub of a future high-speed rail network.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle says it's important to present a united front if the Midwest wants to see its share of $8 billion in federal stimulus funds.

DOYLE: I don't think you'll find any part of the country that will have as well a coordinated, thought-out, solid application as we're going to put forth from the Midwest states.

U.S. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood has called for the Midwest to crown a so-called "rail czar" to centralize the region's efforts.

The governors say the steering committee will fill that role, but competition for the stimulus money will still be fierce.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has already received more than 270 pre-applications for rail projects.