AHSRA ADVOCACY AGENDA
The American High Speed Rail Alliance’s (AHSRA) mission is to bring together stakeholders who are committed to the near term development of high speed rail corridors and improved intercity passenger rail (HSIPR) in the United States. AHSRA understands that this will be a difficult task and its members are willing to put in the time and effort to make it happen. The change in the political landscape, a renewed emphasis on deficit reduction, and calls to spend all available resources on maintaining existing transportation infrastructure have created serious challenges for HSIPR development. AHSRA’s mission reflects this reality and its agenda focuses on the near-term issues most critical to developing HSIPR in the United States.
To achieve this goal, the Alliance supports the following policy agenda:
A national rail plan that identifies the ways and means to build in America the world’s premier high speed and regional passenger rail network by building new high speed rail corridors that will fundamentally expand and improve passenger transportation in the geographic regions they serve while upgrading existing intercity passenger rail services and laying the groundwork for future high speed passenger rail services through small projects and planning efforts.
The Alliance supports major investment in high speed rail in surface transportation authorization and an annual appropriation for high speed rail. The Alliance supports authorizing the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), acting in part through a proposed National Infrastructure Bank, to provide grants, loans, loan guarantees, lines of credit, private-activity bonds, tax-credit bonds and other funding and financing tools to allow investment in the design, planning and construction of these high speed rail corridors.
Sustainable funding sources adequate to build and operate the world’s premier high speed and regional passenger rail network. The Alliance supports facilitating high speed rail development through various financing programs offered by the USDOT such as the Rail Line Relocation program, the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program and the Build America Bonds program.
The Alliance is also working to develop a dedicated funding source for HSR to allow effective long-term planning and develop a predictable and sustainable market for HSR services.
Workforce development initiatives that identify, train and support American workers to design, build operate and maintain America’s high speed and regional passenger rail network.
National procurement and safety standards that assure the interoperability and safe operation of the world’s premier high speed and regional passenger rail network.
Support the USDOT in its efforts to develop clear and effective metrics that ensure comprehensive and transparent evaluation of all elements of proposals that seek to use government resources to design, build, operate and maintain high speed and regional passenger rail service.
Full funding of a comprehensive national transportation research program that includes metrics to measure the proposed and actual performance of America’s passenger rail industry.
Support efforts of the Secretary of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration and the President to coordinate national priorities, especially in the areas of national security, economic renewal and redevelopment, and energy independence with the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of a national high speed passenger rail network.