21st Century Transportation for America



For Immediate Release:  January 19, 2012

For inquiries or interviews contact:
Anthony Le


Washington, DC – The US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) applauds Governor Brown for his vision, leadership, and commitment to the state’s new high speed rail project.  USHSR and its 250 members fully support this visionary transportation project, and commend Governor Brown for leading the way in getting America to think big again.

Governor Brown, in his second State of the State address yesterday, came out strongly supporting the state’s new high speed rail project while blasting the critics:  “The Central Valley Water Project was called a 'fantastic dream' that 'will not work,' " Brown said.  "The master plan for the interstate highway system in 1939 was derided as 'New Deal jitterbug economics.'  In 1966, then-Mayor Johnson of Berkeley called BART a 'billion-dollar potential fiasco.'  Similarly, the Panama Canal was for years thought to be impractical, and Benjamin Disraeli himself said of the Suez Canal:  'Totally impossible to be carried out.' The critics were wrong then, and they're wrong now.'' said Governor Brown.

“We cannot afford to let shortsightedness or politics dictate our future” said Jim Earp, Executive Director, California Alliance for Jobs.   “Forward-thinking projects like high-speed rail offer tremendous environmental, economic and transportation benefits that are well worth the investment, not only now but for future generations.”

 USHSR supports the California high speed rail system as a Special Project of National Significance.  “It’s the largest, most advanced HSR project in the nation, with the first phase readying to go out to bid” said Andy Kunz, USHSR President.  “There’s widespread public and business support for this project.  A number of major national and international investors are interested in public-private partnerships.  The project is already creating jobs, and many more coming once construction begins.  It will become a national demonstration project for advanced HSR technology in America.”  Given the system’s location near Silicon Valley, a new high tech industry could evolve around HSR. 

“California will be the first test of 220 mph trains on American soil, quickly advancing the nation from last place in the world, to first place in global state-of-the-art HSR.” added Kunz.  Governor Brown said “those who believe that California is in decline will naturally shrink back from such a strenuous undertaking, I understand that feeling, but I don't share it because I know this state and the spirit of the people who choose to live here.”

USHSR views increased investment in HSR as both visionary and pragmatic.  It’s visionary for thinking big and working for something better.  It’s pragmatic and fiscally conservative because it’s a smart investment in the nation’s future.  HSR creates millions of jobs, revives our manufacturing sector, stimulates real estate development, and sets up America to save energy, money, and time – year after year.  It delivers a fast and reliable mobility option, it protects the nation from energy price spikes, and increases national security by reducing our dependency on foreign oil.

The California HSR system will be one of the main topics at USHSR’s upcoming High Speed Rail Summit taking place February 28 – March 1 in Washington, DC.  For more information, visit

US High Speed Rail Association is the only organization in America focusing entirely on advancing a state-of-the-art national high speed rail network. Our vision includes a 21st century, 17,000 mile national high speed rail system built in phases for completion by 2030.


High Speed Rail Program Extremely Important for America
America is struggling from growing congestion, aviation decline, & rising fuel prices – High Speed Rail solves all 3

  • Congestion Relief – America suffers from paralyzing congestion nationwide, growing worse every day, costing over $156 billion each year in wasted time and fuel
  • Mobility – HSR delivers a new form of very high-capacity, fast transportation - never subject to congestion delays (a single HSR line carries the equivalent of a 10-lane freeway);  HSR also decongests highways and runways
  • Time Savings – HSR delivers passengers quickly to their destinations, on-time, every time
  • Business Friendly Transportation – Fast, convenient, room to work, no restrictions on electronic devices
  • American Jobs – HSR creates millions of jobs in multiple sectors
  • American Manufacturing – HSR develops new industries and ramps up U.S. manufacturing
  • Real Estate Renewal – HSR will be the catalyst for the next national real estate boom
  • Tourism Renewal – HSR promotes travel and tourism
  • Safety – HSR is the safest form of transportation possible
  • Energy Savings / Security – 10 times more efficient than flying/driving;  Lowers dependence on foreign oil
  • Sustainability – HSR is the greenest form of transportation, and can be powered by renewables
  • Profitable – HSR operations are profitable in every country around the world, earning billions

California High Speed Rail – Special Project of National Significance

  • Most important project in the country, worthy of federal funding, ready for bidding, jobs created already
  • National demonstration project with domestic HSR technology development potential (Silicon Valley, etc.)
  • Majority of project will be ‘true HSR’ – 220 mph trains;  First location in America demonstrating true HSR
  • High investor interest, very high potential ridership/profits once connected to major cities
  • California is the 8th largest economy in the world;  13% of the U.S. economy
  • California has the worst congestion in the nation - physically impossible to expand state’s highways
  • Statewide HSR project meets clean air requirements, environmental quality, renewable energy goals

Northeast Corridor High Speed Rail - Project of National Significance

  • Currently busiest rail corridor in America
  • Well established ridership and support networks
  • Early planning stages; Built in incremental upgrades over time
  • True HSR reached incrementally segment by segment

Recommendations for the National HSR Program

  • The HSR program is of national importance – keep it going with initial seed investment
  • Focus on advancing first two projects simultaneously:  1. California;  2. Northeast Corridor
  • Fund first phase of each project to launch systems     
  • Establish incentives and conditions to attract private investors for second phase
  • Set up a national competition between the projects – East Coast HSR vs. West Coast HSR
  • Dedicate part of the Federal Surface Transportation funding each year to HSR, starting in 2012
  • Develop permanent funding sources for national HSR program, grow national network each year

US High Speed Rail Association, 10 G Street NE, Suite 710, Washington, DC 20002



Chairman John Mica                                                                                                                                
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee


Dear Chairman Mica,

We commend you and the Committee for holding this hearing continuing the focus on developing true high speed rail (HSR) in America as another transportation option.  We submit this letter for the record.

The US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) supports the development of true high speed rail in California, the Northeast Corridor, and several others to expand our mobility options.  The nation’s current transportation options are deteriorating rapidly, creating major problems nationwide:

  • Severe highway congestion in every region of America, getting worse each year
  • Aviation in continuous decline with increased cancellations, delays, & bankruptcies
  • Permanently rising transportation fuel costs (oil currently around $100 per barrel)

America desperately needs additional options for moving people and goods around the nation.  Our roads and airports were built when oil was $5 per barrel.  Today, America struggles to keep these running with oil now at $100 per barrel, and rising.  Experts predict oil will surpass $200 per barrel this decade, establishing a real urgency to constructing HSR in multiple corridors as quickly as possible.

Businesses across America are paying the price every day in lost productivity for a transportation system that gets more expensive as the service levels worsen.  Our growing congestion and rising fuel prices combine to make it more costly to do business in America.  Congestion delays alone cost more than $156 billion each year in wasted time and fuel stuck on our highways and runways.  This ‘hardening of the nation’s arteries’ - makes America less competitive with nations that have HSR - the only form of transportation not subject to congestion. 

Investing in high speed rail as part of a balanced transportation system is smart business for America.  HSR costs less to build than roads and airports.  High speed rail delivers:

  • Proven technology with a 45 year track record; Highly successful everywhere it’s built
  • Safely transporting billions of passengers
  • Relieving congestion, saving time, money and fuel
  • Creates jobs, economic development, efficiency, and real estate development

HSR is currently in operation in more than 20 countries (including the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan).  HSR is under construction in more than 10 countries (including China, Spain, and Italy); and in development in another 14 countries (including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Morocco, Russia, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, India, Argentina, and Brazil).  HSR has been in operation in Japan for 45 years carrying more than 9 billion passengers without a single fatality.

The US High Speed Rail Association urges you to keep the nation moving forward on high speed rail by continuing to fund the following priority corridors simultaneously:

  • California HSR – Special Project of National Significance
  • Northeast Corridor HSR Project of National Significance
  • Chicago Hub HSR Project
  • Texas HSR Project
  • Various other smaller upgrade projects on existing rail lines
  • Preliminary planning studies for the next round of new projects

California HSR is a Special Project of National Significance worthy of ongoing federal funding.  It’s the largest and most advanced HSR project in the nation, with the first phase readying to go out to bid.  There is widespread public and business support for the project.  It’s already creating jobs, and will quickly become a national demonstration project for advanced HSR technology in America.  Given its location near Silicon Valley, this could lead to the launch of a new high tech industry.  California will be the first test of 220 mph trains on American soil, quickly advancing the nation from last place to first place in global state-of-the-art HSR.

California needs this new rail system because they have the worst congestion in America, with no possibility of expanding their freeways.  With the state’s population expected to double, HSR is the only feasible mobility solution.  California is the 8th largest economy in the world, and represents more than 13% of the U.S. economy.  The state needs a modern, efficient transportation system.  The recently released business plan laid out the worst case scenario of taking decades to build out.  A number of investors have already expressed interest in building the second phase – the two end pieces – creating the full San Francisco to Los Angeles 220 mph connection.  This will quickly become the busiest, most profitable rail line in America, and a top 5 in the world. 

We have a unique opportunity to launch a national high speed rail competition between the east and west coasts for developing HSR in America.  There’s no time to wait for the Northeast corridor to be built before launching other important HSR systems.  Regions across America need high speed rail’s benefits now.  The best way forward is to advance multiple systems simultaneously in different regions.

The US High Speed Rail Association supports the development of multi-use infrastructure corridors containing rail lines, pipe lines, communication lines, utilities, energy systems, and smart grid lines.  Together, these save money by combining investments across a number of sectors, creating additional revenue streams.

As the nation enters a new era of tight budgets, high energy prices, and paralyzing congestion, HSR will play an important role across America by delivering new transportation options that save time, money, and energy.

Andy Kunz                                                                                                  
President & CEO                                                                     
US High Speed Rail Association                                                
Washington, DC                          


US HSR.  Making it happen.