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Midwest States Rail Project Would Create 57,000 Jobs, Generate Billions in Revenues

April 24, 2007 (EIRNS)—A nine-state, 3,000-mile Chicago-hubbed network of faster more frequent rail service project called, the Midwest Regional Rail System (MWRRS), released its economic impact study findings on April 18. The report shows the project would create 57,450 new jobs, provide just over $1 billion in extra household income across the nine-state region, and provide $4.9 billion increased property values leading to joint development potential for the 102 cities with MWRRS stations.

The economic impact study, completed in November 2006 but just now released, estimates the MWRRS could generate $23.1 billion in user benefits from time savings, congestion relief and emission reductions during the first 40-years of the project. While this system is not true high-speed rail service, i.e. 125 to 300 miles per hour, the upgrade to this network of rail lines is critical for the eventual build-out of a national high speed rail network, including MagLev, that has been proposed by Lyndon LaRouche. The nine state-consortium consists of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The project began in 1996, but was blocked from Federal funding, first by the Newt Gingrich-conservative revolutionaries, and then the Bush administration which were hostile to Federal investment in rail projects—leaving them to the States. But, on April 25, a bipartisan Federal bill, S. 294, known as the Lautenberg-Lott rail bill will be voted on in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. It is expected that it will pass and be sent on to the full Senate. If S. 294, the "Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2007," were enacted, funds would be authorized for state corridor rail projects such as the MWRRS.

EIR's coverage of the MWRRS at http://www.larouchepub.com/ eiw/public/2006/2006_20-29/2006-20/pdf/72-75_620_ecorr.pdf.