From The Detroit News
Recently, Gov. Rick Snyder and I announced an historic investment of nearly $200 million to expand high-speed rail service from Detroit to Chicago.
The Obama administration’s investment in this high-speed rail project will not only provide fast, reliable and energy-efficient service for passengers, it will open up a world of opportunity for economic and commercial development along the corridor (“Feds provide $200M for high-speed rail in Michigan,” May 10).
Unfortunately, Randal O’Toole paints an inaccurate picture of this important project’s benefits (“O’Toole: The great train con,” The Michigan View, May 12).
Once complete, trains will travel at 110 miles per hour over 235 miles on the Detroit to Chicago line, cutting the total trip by 30 minutes. Construction will support nearly 1,000 new jobs for hard-hit Michiganians. And U.S. manufacturers will also get a boost thanks to our Buy America requirement that will put Americans to work building state-of-the-art passenger rail cars and locomotives.
With growing congestion on the roads and gas prices at such high levels, the people of Michigan are already choosing to take the train: Amtrak ridership along the Detroit to Chicago corridor is up more than 15 percent since last year. Ridership will only increase with the reduced trip-time and the reliability that high-speed rail service provides.
I don’t need to tell the people of Detroit that Americans will always love their cars. But people are also clamoring for other kinds of transportation opportunities that are fast, convenient and affordable.
High-speed rail is a strategic investment that will help provide the service that Americans want and lay the foundation for future economic growth.
Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Washington, D.C.