Conference to Focus on Getting High-Speed Rail on Track

'High Speed Rail 2011' comes at a time of uncertainty for the high-speed rail movement.

Federal Railroad Administration head Joseph Szabo, Amtrak Chairman Thomas Carper and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn are among the scheduled speakers on the agenda of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association's conference this week in Chicago.

The conference will take place June 1-3 at Chicago's Marriott Magnificent Mile, and it is still possible to register.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is scheduled to be on hand for the opening reception on June 1.

"High Speed Rail 2011," which will bring together elected officials, business leaders and international high-speed rail experts, comes at a time of uncertainty for the high-speed rail movement in the United States.

To avert a government shutdown, Congress in April enacted a six-month continuing resolution that cut $2.9 billion in high-speed rail funding from the federal budget. Meanwhile, newly elected Republican governors in Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin recently rejected federal funds for proposed high-speed rail projects in their respective states.

Still, the U.S. Department of Transportation earlier this month awarded $2 billion in high-speed rail funding from the fiscal year 2010 budget. The agency selected 15 states and Amtrak to receive the funds for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects.

Sessions on the conference agenda will: discuss the benefits, opportunities and challenges of high-speed rail in the United States; provide status updates of various high-speed rail projects; share lessons learned and best practices from high-speed rail projects in Europe and Asia; and more.

To register, visit the U.S. High Speed Rail Association's website.

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