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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Report says high-speed rail will create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin

From an article on BizTimes Daily:

When the new high-speed rail network is established in the Midwest, it will create 13,000 new jobs in Wisconsin, eliminate 780,000 car trips every year and conserve 2.76 million gallons of gasoline annually, according to a new report released today by the WISPIRG Foundation.

The organization attributed the estimate of the jobs created to the Midwest High-Speed Rail Association.

Kyle Bailey, program associate with WISPIRG, said the 13,000 jobs include both private development in and around intermodal stations and rail lines, manufacturing jobs related to train and car construction, and the development, maintenance and operations of the trains and intermodal stations.

Bailey said he did not know how many of the 13,000 jobs would be with private companies or the state.

“High-speed rail is part of the solution – boosting our economy and creating jobs, modernizing our transportation system and helping to solve our nation’s oil dependency, worsening congestion and pollution,” Bailey said. “High-speed rail gets us moving in the right direction.”

Bailey noted the growing popularity of the Amtrak Hiawatha line between Chicago and Milwaukee, which saw a 63-percent increase in ridership from 2004 to 2008, when more than 766,000 passengers rode the line.

Wisconsin’s Midwest regional rail line upgrades will speed the Hiawatha service up to 110 mph, reducing trip time from Chicago to Milwaukee to about an hour, and extend it to Madison and eventually La Crosse or Eau Claire and the Twin Cities.

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