Could the 2016 Summer Olympics stimulate passenger rail investment in the Midwest?

Press release from organizers of The Golden Spike Seminar:

Highland, Indiana – How many people know the true value and economics of having a 21st Century passenger rail system as part of the transportation profile in the Midwestern United States? That’s the question that will look for a response at the 10th Annual Golden Spike Seminar.

Scheduled for the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center in Merrillville, Indiana on Thursday and Friday, March 19 & 20, 2009, the seminar will host select transportation experts from Europe and across the United States who will present information that will define transportation for a modern society, and who will document the economic, environmental and quality of life benefits of both commuter and passenger rail in the Midwest.

Joined by the Economic Mission of the Embassy of France, German American Chamber of Commerce in the Midwest and the nine-state Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, a consortium of nine Midwestern States planning for the funding and implementation of the Midwest Regional Rail System, the Indiana High Speed Rail Association has invited presenters who have expertise in the planning and development of rail transportation.

Speakers include Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, chairman of SNCF International, an expansive passenger rail system in France that includes both commuter rail and high speed intercity rail; Frank Guzzo, senior vice president of Siemens Transportation Systems, which manufacturers equipment for passenger trains; Randall Wade of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, who is also the coordinator of the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, and Frank Busalacchi, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and president of the States for Passenger Rail Coalition.

The consul general of France in Chicago, Jean-Baptiste Main de Boissiere will present the history and economics of transportation in France at a luncheon on Thursday, March 19, and the consul general of Germany in Chicago, Wolfgang Drautz, will present the history and economics of transportation in Germany at a breakfast on Friday, March 20th US Department of Transportation Ray LaHood has been invited as has Congressman James Oberstar, chair of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee of the House of Representatives..

The Golden Spike Seminar will take a critical look at the International Olympic Games proposed for Chicago in 2016, which seminar planners believe could be the “stimulus” that inspires the funding and implementation of the passenger rail system proposed for the Midwest.

All presentations will be documented to create a “White Paper,” that will be published before state and federal legislators, other elected officials and the Midwest business community.

Registration fees include $250.00 for corporations; $125.00 for government planners and elected officials, and small businesses, and $79.00 for individuals. Financial partnerships to the Golden Spike Seminar are invited to contribute $500 and $1000, and state and federal legislators are invited to the event at no charge. Accommodations at the Radisson Hotel are $129.00 per night.

For information, contact Dennis Hodges at (219) 887-1351.


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