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Some Rail Advocates Hope The ‘Trump Train’ Means Faster Trains

Push For High-Speed Rail Based On Trump Support For More Infrastructure Spending

David Goldman/AP Photo

As travelers pack some passenger trains this week, some rail advocates hope President-elect Donald Trump will soon bring faster rail service.

Rick Harnish of the Midwest High Speed Rail Association said as a presidential candidate, Donald Trump mentioned faster passenger rail in other countries.

“He’s talked about how embarrassing it is, that in China, you can take a high-speed train the equivalent of Chicago to New Orleans, Chicago to New York, Chicago to Florida. China has already has it,” Harnish said.

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Harnish said his group hopes to convince Congress and the president-elect to expand high-speed rail, as part of a major infrastructure package next year. But Milwaukee Alderman and rail supporter Bob Bauman said he’s very pessimistic, because Trump wants a lot of private investment, from people who may not see enough profit in passenger rail.

“Now, could they craft some sort of tax credit concept?” Bauman wonders, “Perhaps. But I think as you get into the details, you will see most of the talk gravitate toward highways, bridges, airports and rail will be increasingly left out of the picture.”

Bauman said local communities will have to push for more passenger rail service. But he doesn’t expect much help from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who, in 2010, canceled plans for high-speed rail between Milwaukee and Madison.