Here's to fast trains in 2019!
As 2018 draws to a close, we look back at some big moments in the fight for fast, frequent and reliable trains. Even better, we look forward to a new year that’s set to bring great things.
First, we have to thank everyone who participated in our 2018 Fast Track Challenge. Not only did we blow past our goal of 125 donors, we demolished our stretch goal of 200 donors. This unlocked a total of $6,000 in bonus challenge grants from Board President Stan Miller, Board Member Beth Coulson, and an anonymous donor. We ended the challenge with a grand total of 301 donors giving $22,000. Thank you, everyone, especially our 68 first-time donors!
This past year saw a number of important developments, particularly for our effort to bring modern train designs to the Midwest. Brightline began service in Florida, setting a new national standard for passenger experience and customer service. With manufacturing now underway, we’ll be riding in the same comfortable, modern, safe passenger cars that Brightline uses here in the Midwest in 2020.
The Federal Railroad Administration also updated decades-old safety regulations that make it possible for us to use existing modern, lightweight, safe train designs from Europe. This will significantly reduce the cost of getting modern trains rolling in the United States.
In the new year, we look forward to working with new governors and legislatures around the Midwest, plus a new Congress in our nation’s capital. In Illinois, a new infrastructure spending bill could set the stage for our Illinois Fast Track Initiative and the first steps in a Midwest high-speed rail network.
We look forward to working with new leaders to advance stalled efforts to add new trains and additional service in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. We also hope to finalize the route for dedicated passenger tracks around the bottom of Lake Michigan for trains to Michigan and the eastern U.S.
Without your support, we could not travel to meet with legislators, government officials and community leaders. Not only do we remind them that fast, frequent reliable trains are important to their constituents and communities, we offer them practical steps so they can take action.
Please consider donating now so we can hit the ground running in 2019 and make the most of the new year’s potential.
We wish you safe travels this holiday season. Here’s to fast trains in 2019!