As the world’s fifth largest economy, (at $2.6 trillion and approximately equal to France, only the U.S., Chinese, Japanese and German economies are larger) the Midwest possesses a diverse manufacturing, agricultural and business services base anchored by nine major metropolitan areas. High speed rail (HSR) will have a transformative impact that will unify the Midwest and solidify its future position as one of the world’s most powerful economic mega-regions.
The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is undertaking a series of studies to clearly define this vision. Eight Midwest states have already studied upgrading existing Amtrak corridors, which share track with freight carriers, to 110- mph systems. This new initiative focuses on the 220-mph trains necessary to slash travel times to less than three hours (often two) between major cities.