City Hosting High Speed Rail Meeting

The public is invited to learn more about the possibility of high speed passenger train service that would include Warsaw. Fred Lanahan, president of Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association, will present on the details of the project and the positive economic and environmental impact on Warsaw and the surrounding area during the Warsaw Common Council meeting scheduled for tomorrow night, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m.

The public presentation will include a brief history of the project and discussion on the feasibility. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers in city hall, 102 S. Buffalo St.

In an earlier column featured on StaceyPageOnline.com, Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said, “It is important to understand that the move to bring passenger rail service back to Warsaw is a very sophisticated undertaking involving multiple stakeholders and millions of dollars.”

The earliest, most aggressive timelines suggest construction would not begin until at least 2017.

Warsaw, along with the other members of the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association, contributed to a High Speed Rail feasibility study. The consortium of municipalities stretches from Columbus, Ohio, through Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Plymouth and Valparaiso, and into Chicago.

The purpose of the study is to provide a rationale for funding a high-speed rail corridor from Columbus to Chicago. The study looked at the economic impact to the communities, job creation as the result of the project construction, job growth that will occur as economic development is stimulated along the corridor, the increase in the tax base from that growth, the environmental benefits, and the overall cost benefits of the investment.

Funding millions of dollars a mile for track, signals, train stations, train equipment and facilities, the federal government will look at each business plan as this and many other proposals compete for the federal dollars to make this a reality. The project is estimated to cost over $1 billion.

According to the report, it is estimated the ride to Chicago would take 1 hour 18 minutes and stop only three times on the way. This assumes high-speed rail maximum speeds of 110 mph to 130 mph.

Resumption of “regular” rail service (around 40 mph) to Warsaw could be an intermediate step in this process. While that could happen with current equipment and the existing rail structure, the emphasis of the consortium is the development of the high speed rail system.

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