Midwest Memo: Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Look for high speed rail improvements coming to the Midwest soon. Photo by Greg Raisman via Flickr.

The Midwest is getting more than $400 million in railroad funding from the federal government. Michigan was awarded nearly $200 million yesterday to improve rail service between Detroit and Chicago. Officials say the money will be used to upgrade the tracks between Dearborn and Kalamazoo, and push maximum speeds up to 110 mph. Illinois will also be working to improve the railways between Chicago and St. Louis. The money was part of $2 billion Florida had rejected earlier this year.

General Motors will be adding 250 to 400 jobs at its transmission factory in Toledo, Ohio. GM is investing $260 million to develop eight-speed, fuel efficient transmissions, in response to soaring gas prices.  That’s part of a wider plan to add or preserve about 4,200 jobs in eight states, including 2,000 in the Detroit area.

Multi-product manufacturer Suarez Corp., a maker of jewelry, collectible coins, space heaters, and health products, is adding 100 jobs and moving another 180 positions to a new manufacturing and distribution facility in North Canton, Ohio.

U.S. safety regulators are looking into a problem with the fuel tanks of about 2.7 million Ford F-150 pickup trucks. According to the Associated Press, apparently “the steel straps holding the gas tank can rust and break, possibly causing a fuel spill and fire.”

Ohio’s attorney general is suing a Cleveland mortgage rescue company for violating the state’s consumer protection laws. Also in Ohio foreclosure news, a consumer advocate group is planning to picket the shareholders meeting outside a Columbus J.P. Morgan Chase bank.

Chicago-based online coupon site Groupon is teaming up with concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment Inc. to create an online ticketing webstie: GrouponLive. The site is expected to launch before summer concert season kicks off.

Hundreds of Chicagoans stopped by the bid farewell to Mayor Daley yesterday. Photo by Sam Hudzik / WBEZ.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is retiring next week. Yesterday, hundreds of Chicagoans visited him during open hours. Some criticized him, other praised him, yet others pleaded for help.

For Chicagoans, here’s a handy guide to help you navigate summer construction.




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