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That headline is what Smart Growth America's William Schroeer had to say about Gov. Quinn's announcement that $1.3M would be devoted to researching the possibility of building high speed rail from Chicago Champaign last week.
William Schroeer
William and others spoke about upcoming rail projects to a group of about 200 at the US High Speed Rail conference at the Mag Mile Courtyard Hotel. William says property near train stations usually sees an increase in value of 35%, so an area like Champaign (where high speed rail may be introduced soon) could see nearly all of its property increase in value. But William cautions against building a high speed rail station that looks like an airport—it discourages foot traffic and creates a “shuttle bus hell” that detracts from tourists' desire to visit an area.
Marty Vanags
The Normal Economic Development Council's Marty Vanags has seen what a good train station can do. Normal doesn't have high speed rail yet, but the town decided to redevelop its “AmShak” train station into a more appealing town center. The station has contributed to the development of a new 68k SF LEED Gold office that will house some branches of local government, a new children's museum, and a 230-room Marriott.
Douglas Voigt
Building high speed rail stations in China gives SOM's Douglas Voigt some idea of how the new structures affect their neighborhoods. The stations have to be a part of daily life, not just a design, he says. Five megalopolises (megalopolii?) account for about 85%  of the world's technological innovations and the Great Lakes  region is one of them, he says. Building high speed rail in the Midwest would encourage idea exchange, interstate business, and even local food tourism, Douglas says.
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