A report from the PBS program Need to Know looks at the fight over expanding passenger rail, with a focus on Wisconsin and Illinois.

While Wisconsin’s and Ohio’s rejection of federal money for high-speed rail projects is old news, the discussion is far from over.

Reporter Rick Karr talks to Kevin Conroy, a Madison businessman who regularly has to make trips to Milwaukee. The rail service, he says, would not only spare him having to traverse occasionally dangerous highways in winter, it would allow him to get work done rather “kill a whole day” behind the wheel of a car.

The story contrasts Wisconsin with Illinois, where the promise of improved rail service is already bringing economic development to towns like Normal, about 100 miles from Chicago.

“We’ll show them,” says Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. “It’s important to be fast – we’ve got to run, not walk, to the future. And part of the future is high-speed rail.”

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

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Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.