Thursday, Sept. 2, 2010 01:43 pm
TAKING THE BULLET
Vice President Joe Biden is apparently a fan of Illinois, and maybe even a bit of a dreamer. In a recent report from the White House, Biden touted the present and future accomplishments of $787 billion in federal money doled out under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The VP is in charge of administering ARRA, and among the few projects featured in his report was the proposed high-speed rail corridor that will someday link St. Louis and Chicago, going right through Springfield along the way. The project is supposed to upgrade rail lines to accommodate passenger trains at speeds up to 110 miles per hour – a 39 percent increase from the current 79 mph speed limit.
Biden didn’t stop there, however. His report, which cites a study from the Chicago-based Midwest High Speed Rail Association, indicates that the rail upgrade could be a stepping stone to the 220 mph bullet trains that zoom across Asia and Europe. The only problem is that the passenger trains here will still have to stand down when freight traffic comes barreling through – the main reason passenger trains are often delayed or can’t reach full speed for much of their voyage. Here’s hoping Biden’s dream has legs.