Feb 20, 2008
The new Madrid-Barcelona rail line shows what we could do here, according to a release from the Midwest High Speed Rail Association.
The new high-speed train takes two-and-a-half hours to get travelers from Madrid to Barcelona. That’s the equivalent of Chicago to Minneapolis — which currently takes eight hours on Amtrak, and about six hours by automobile.
It’s an hour-and-a-half by airplane, but that doesn’t count getting to the airport, and getting there early.
And with the price of oil topping $100 a barrel for the first time, the age of cheap air travel is waning.
A program comparable to the Spanish government’s effort to bring the entire country within three hours of Madrid would link Chicago with Minneapolis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Detroit.
“The Midwest economy is facing a number of economic challenges that will require our cities to cooperate in ways not dreamed of just a few years ago,” said Rick Harnish of MHSRA. “We will need own high-speed network to compete.”
The Association envisions an ambitious program of new and expanded rail routes throughout the state, featuring fast trains integrated with intercity buses and local transit — including commuter services expanded beyond six northeastern counties — that would reach many destinations now accessible only by car.