2017 MHSRA Annual Meeting
Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual Meeting on April 1, and to our speakers for sharing their time and knowledge with us. We hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did!
You can see videos of all the presentations by clicking on the links below.
Mark Walburn of Mott Macdonald focused on the importance of frequency for the success of rail corridors competing with other modes of travel. The benefits of greater frequencies include reduced total travel times (traveler wait less at stations), service of different travel markets throughout the day, improved system reliability from the traveler’s perspective and more options to make connections with other trains, buses, transit and even airlines.
Dave Winters, MHSRA’s lobbyist in Springfield Illinois, provided an update on our legislative agenda. The Midwest High Speed Rail Association recently introduced legislation for an Illinois High Speed Rail Authority. This authority would focus solely on developing high-speed rail in Illinois that would connect to communities across the Midwest.
Tim Hoeffner, Director - Office of Rail, Michigan Department of Transportation: Tim focused on the importance of working together with other states throughout the Midwest. The Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (MIPRC), of which Tim is the Chair, has brought together DOT officials, legislators and advocacy groups to help spur improved passenger rail service throughout the region. MIPRC played a key role in the contract to bring new Siemens locomotives to the Midwest and has enhanced cooperation throughout the region. Tim also mentioned the importance of continuing to focus on increasing ridership, cutting costs and being succesful with the projects currently underway.
Derrick James, Director of Government Affairs, Amtrak: Derrick brought us exciting news about the future of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and the wide range of station improvements coming to cities across the country. New high-speed trainsets, station upgrades and track improvements are all part of the investment in the NEC. Amtrak plans to make major renovations to its station properties with hopes to increase revenue. Stations up for revitalization include: Baltimore Penn Station, New York Penn Station, Philadelphia’s 30 Street Station, DC Union Station and Chicago Union Station.
Congressman Quigley gave us a perspective from Capitol Hill on federal transportation investment in 2017. He spoke on the importance of passenger rail to Americans cities especially here in the Midwest. Congressman Quigley made it clear that increased investment in rail infrastructure should be a priority in Congress.
Commissioner Garcia spoke about the need for greater transportation options in the City of Chicago’s economically struggling areas. He argued that greater access to transportation in these transit deserts will provide residents increased economic and social mobility. The Commission on Social Innovation recently passed a resolution in support of CrossRail Chicago, which was then passed by the full county board.
Eugene Skoropowski of All Aboard Florida spoke about Brightline Service, due to start running between Miami and Fort Lauderdale in the summer of 2017. Gene shared details on the modern high-performance trainsets, the symbiotic relationship between real estate development & passenger rail service, and the potential to expand this model to other corridors.
Katie England, Director of Multimodal Planning & Programs, Indiana Department of Transportation: Katie provided an update on passenger rail projects throughout Indiana such as the Hoosier State, South Shore extension, and the Chicago - Ft. Wayne - Columbus study. Katie gave valuable insights into INDOT’s responsibilities with the Hoosier State and the strong local community support for this corridor. The future of this corridor involves a continued effort to increase ridership & revenue, sustaining funding & strong local support and exploring long term improvements that can be made.
Richard Harnish, Executive Director, Midwest High Speed Rail Association: Rick gave a brief overview of the Phased Network Model. This is a framework for our advocacy efforts and it helps explain the broad benefits of high-speed rail. We plan to release a white paper in the near future.