Stateline Midwest ~ December 2012

Passenger rail service in the Midwest is growing and improving, with record numbers of people taking the train and upgrades to service under way.

With significant growth expected in freight transportation over the next several decades as a result of the expansion of the Panama Canal and other factors, a number of states have begun to adopt policies that seek to take trucks off the road and make the nation's supply chain more multi-modal. By improving infrastructure at seaports, incentivizing shippers, making greater use of inland waterways, creating partnerships to reduce freight rail bottlenecks and developing state and regional freight plans, these states stand to make significant improvements to freight efficiency and safety as well as to the environment. 

Ridership is on the rise on many passenger rail routes in the Midwest, as is federal support for strengthening the region's passenger rail system. But some newly elected governors opposed new state investments in rail.

Seven Midwestern states are receiving assistance from the $8 billion High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to upgrade four federally designated high-speed rail corridors.