Washington, DC – The US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) is pleased to announce the release of the 5-Point High Speed Rail Stimulus Plan with project list for the new Biden administration, who has promised to "spark the second great railroad revolution" with a major investment and focus on high speed rail across America.
With serious economic depression and the need for millions of jobs quickly, a major national stimulus project is needed now. And with the nation so divided over the election, it’s more important than ever to launch a national unification project that can bring all Americans together over a common purpose of building our 21st century transportation system. Add to that the urgent need to address climate change in a big way, especially dealing with transportation (the largest contributor), high speed rail is the top solution for each of these serious problems all at once! This is the deal of the century – multiple major solutions for a single investment!
USHSR’s new 5-Point High Speed Rail Stimulus Plan has recommendations for the high speed rail program to be a success including specific high speed rail projects to fund as follows:
1) Create a new High Speed Rail Development Authority within USDOT to direct and coordinate the national program working with the states. This new Authority would be tasked with initiating new high speed rail projects, conducting route studies, filing for permits, assembling land, hiring contractors and consultants, and hiring concessionaires to operate the trains. This includes streamlining the approvals process by allowing simultaneous approvals, shortened timelines, and single agency approvals.
2) Select the nation's top 5 high speed rail priority projects, designate them "Special Projects of National Significance" and fast-track each to completion with the full support of the federal government. (see map below)
1) California High Speed Rail - $60 Billion investment
2) Texas High Speed Rail - $20 Billion investment
3) NEC upgrade, New York City tunnels - $50 Billion investment
5) Florida High Speed Rail (Tampa-Orlando) - $2.5 Billion investment
3) Select the second tier projects and immediately fund and assist them into early works - planning, route studies, permits, land acquisition, and pre-construction works. (see map below)
6) Chicago-Milwaukee high speed rail - $8 Billion investment
7) Atlanta-Charlotte high speed rail - $18 Billion investment
8) Louisville-Nashville high speed rail - $15 Billion investment
9) Denver-Albuquerque high speed rail - $40 Billion investment
10) Chicago - St. Louis high speed rail - $18 Billion investment
11) Tulsa-Oklahoma City high speed rail - $8 Billion investment
12) Chicago-Detroit high speed rail - $30 Billion investment
13) Nashville-Memphis high speed rail - $15 Billion investment
14) Kansas City - St. Louis high speed rail - $19 Billion investment
15) Chicago-Indianapolis high speed rail - $17 Billion investment
4) Coordinate closely on transit oriented development (TOD) planning with local cities and jurisdictions to maximize community and economic development opportunities that come with a new high speed rail station.
TOD combines regional planning, city revitalization, suburban renewal, smart growth, and walkable neighborhoods. By directly coordinating the land development around high speed rail stations, maximum community, walkability, placemaking, and real estate benefits can be delivered.
5) Work with airlines and airports to replace short-haul flights with high speed rail, and extend high speed rail connections to major airports. Encourage partnerships with airlines on combined tickets for trips with part of the journey on a train and part on an airplane.
This begins to reshape the US domestic travel market that makes traveling easier, faster, and greener for the traveling public, while also benefiting the airlines and airports who can better utilize their equipment and spaces for longer distance flights.
The US High Speed Rail Association is a membership organization that has been advocating for a national state-of-the-art high speed rail network since our founding in 2009, showcasing the many benefits high speed rail will bring to America. As the previous transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said, "there is no such thing as a Democratic or Republican road, bridge, port, airfield or rail system. We must work together across party lines to enhance this nation’s infrastructure."
The 15 projects listed above (and shown on the map below) are important pieces of the national network that will deliver immediate job benefits across numerous regions of the country, followed by new mobility and employment opportunities when the trains open. These 15 projects benefit 23 states, red and blue, rural and urban, in a variety of diverse regions, and will help America bounce back quickly from the pandemic and the resulting economic depression, as well as set the nation up for a prosperous and sustainable future.