Nixon, Quinn to join forces to press for high-speed rail
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 20, 2009 - To borrow a term from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's beloved basketball (before bum knees did him in), he and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are attempting a full-court press to lobby for a high-speed rail line between St. Louis and Chicago.
In a rare joint appearance, Quinn and Nixon are holding a joint news conference Monday afternoon at St. Louis' Amtrak Station to help make their case.
The two governors envision the St. Louis-Chicago line as the first leg of a regional system that could link most of the Midwest's major cities, including Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Indianapolis.
Their push now stems from the $8 billion in federal stimulus money available for high-speed lines around the country. As Nixon's staff notes, "Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued guidance to states to outline the application procedure to access these funds."
Perhaps of even more significance will be the action by Nixon and Quinn before the cameras and tape-recorders roll, and reporters uncap their pens.
"Prior to this news conference,'' Nixon's staff said, the two governors "will meet privately with St. Louis-area business and community leaders to review these federal guidelines and discuss the economic benefits of a St. Louis-to-Chicago rail line for the region."