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Midwest governors form high-speed rail group

CHICAGO (AP) -- The governors of eight Midwest states have agreed to set up a steering committee to help with their bid for federal cash to pay for a regional high-speed rail network.

The eight states have worked together for months to promote such a system with Chicago as its hub.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and governors from four other states met in Chicago on Monday to sign a memorandum establishing the Midwest Rail Steering Group. That group will coordinate the states' application for a share of the $8 billion in federal stimulus cash for such projects.

Competition for the money is stiff. Officials say 40 states have submitted 278 plans totaling $102 billion for federal rail funding.

In addition to Quinn, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland also attended the meeting in Chicago.