Economics rail

Published on October 25th, 2012 | by Andrew Meggison

5

Riding the Rails In America — At High Speed

While Presidential Candidates debate the pros and cons of the current administration’s green energy policies American high speed rail has slid under the radar. Currently high speed rail is, well, chugging along in America. Congress has appropriated $10 billion to the high speed rail effort in the past three years. Thirty-two states and DC are moving ahead on high speed rail projects. Public opinion on high speed rail is high, about 62% of American’s say they would use high speed rail if they had access to it according to the American Public Transportation Association.

It is no secret that the U.S. is far behind other nations in high speed rail infrastructure. The benefits of high speed rail huge not just for mass transportation but for job creation as well. While the federal government has been careful to not fully promote high speed rail, Congress passed MAP-21a two-year transportation bill that did not include high speed rail, states have picked up the slack.

The state of California has been in the limelight when it comes to state lead high speed rail efforts. California has a $2.7 billion bond to make a high speed rail system with potential speed up to 220 mph between Merced and Fresno.

On the East Coast, Amtrak has released a plan to build a 438 mile high speed rail system by 2040. A long way off but better than nothing. The plan is to have trains run between New York City and Boston or Washington DC in just 94 minutes. Amtrak claims the project would create 40,000 construction jobs a year for 25 years and around 22,000 permanent jobs.

It is not just the coastal states that are making moves in high speed rail. Midwest states are working or a high speed rail system around Chicago and Detroit. Southern states are looking into high speed rail as well. An Atlanta to Charlotte high speed rail line is in the planning stages as in a line from Dallas to Huston.

Indeed, states can only go so far without federal funding. That means Congress will have to eventually get behind American high speed rail and that means the American people will need to speak up.

Source: Imperial Valley News.com

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison 



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About the Author

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison



  • ZivBnd

    I think that trying to fund HSR before you have rail passengers is putting the cart in front of the horse. The US should slightly increase Amtrak’s subsidy over the next 10 years, allowing them to add more cars to the LD routes that need extra capacity. Shortly thereafter they could start adding 7 day service on trains that are not daily and doubling up trains on the routes that would support twice daily service like the Empire Builder and the California Zephyr. Most importantly, money should be spent on adding tracks to areas that are bottlenecked now, whether it is double or triple tracking, get rid of the slow spots. But most importantly, the Positive Train Control improvements should be allowed to increase the max speed of most of the trains, where possible, up to 110 mph. Which brings us to a huge part of the problem. A way has to be found to incentivise the freight lines into allowing the passenger trains to travel relatively unobstructed.
    So, more money on a steady budget. More cars. More trains. Faster trains going up to 110 mph. More timely schedules. More passengers. More revenue. Then go to true HSR.

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