ASHRA NEWS

Vice President Biden Announces Six Year Plan to Build National High Speed Rail Network

February 8, 2011

Six Year Plan to Build National High Speed Rail Network -Photo Credit-Reuters

Today from Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, Vice President Joe Biden alongside Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood showed further commitment to the administration’s vision of a competitive America with $53 billion of dedicated high speed and intercity rail investment. The plan spans over the next six years, with $8 billion allocated to the coming fiscal year- split evenly between new infrastructure projects and updates to existing systems. This reinforces the already $10.5 billion of investment thus far, primarily focused in California and Florida. The proposal is focused on developing a network of rail service including modernization of existing lines, with the implementation of three types of corridors as outlined in the White House Press Release :

 

  • Core Express: These corridors will form the backbone of the national high speed rail system, with electrified trains traveling on dedicated tracks at speeds of 125-250 mph or higher.
  • Regional: Crucial regional corridors with train speeds of 90-125 mph will see increases in trips and reductions in travel times, laying the foundation for future high speed service.
  • Emerging: Trains traveling at up to 90 mph will provide travelers in emerging rail corridors with access to the larger national high speed and intercity passenger rail network.

Such investments are essential to ensuring economic vitality in years to come. Safe, reliable, and efficient means of transportation are necessary for a productive economy. Shortening the time between places of business provides an agglomeration effective, while shorter commutes improve quality of life for workers. The rail projects are produce ripples of economic impact with development opportunities along existing and proposed corridors. Additionally, transit oriented-developments (TODs) can help reduce the combined burden of housing and transportation costs for working families according to the Center for Housing Policy’s study, “Heavy Load.”

While investment in infrastructure helps to “Win the future,” it also has more immediate impact in job creation. According to Smart Growth America’s “Recent Lessons from the Stimulus: Transportation Funding and Job Creation,” when compared to new roads and bridges, investment spent on public transportation generates 31% more jobs per dollar. The renewed certainty that support for infrastructure improvement provides will allow cities, states and private companies to move forward with projects, and through a rethought and streamlined process for grants and loans.

Overall the proposal provides a much needed plan to address the needs of aging transportation infrastructure system and renewed commitment to the future of America.

For the Full Press Release please visit here

Download PDF Version

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