American rail association: Joe Biden will put high speed rail back on the agenda
The US High-Speed Rail Association (USHSR) has prepared a strategic plan for a high speed rail network in the United States with a project list for the Biden Administration. USHSR believes the plan will ‘spark the second great railroad revolution’ in the US. So far the country does not have a real high speed rail network.
Since 2009, the US High-Speed Rail Association has been advocating for increasing the use of a more national, state of the art high-speed rail through-out America by showcasing the benefits of high-speed rail. “We’re excited to release this new plan as the new rail-focused administration comes in,” says Andy Kunz, USHSR President. “For decades, Joe Biden has proven to be one of rail’s great leaders; we’re ready to work with him, Congress, governors and the American people to get many new systems built across this great nation so everyone can ride them.”
The so-called 5-point HG Rail Plan suggests to create a new High-Speed Rail Development Authority with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to direct and coordinate the programme while working together with the states.
This new Authority should also select the nation’s top five high-speed rail projects. The selected projects are California, Texas, NEC upgrade (NY City tunnels), Cascadia ( Pacific NW) and Florida (Tampa- Orlando). An additional 10 high-speed rail projects will be second in priorities for funding and being assisted into early works with planning, route studies, permits, land acquisition and preconstruction works.
Currently, the Acela line operated by Amtrak, along the NorthEast corridor, is the only high speed service running in the States. Although it can travel up to 150 miles per hour, which can be considered as a high-speed, it only does that for 33 miles out of the 100-mile journey. Due to its average travel speed of 65 miles an hour, it can’t be classified as a truly high-speed rail. Several high speed train projects are under construction but face difficulties. In Florida the first phase of a high-speed rail was supposed to start in 2011 and should have been completed by 2014. Unfortunately, the local Governer halted the funds for the project in 2011 due to high cost exeedings.
The 5-point HG Rail Plan railway project will be working with airlines and airports to replace short-haul flights with high-speed rail and extending the rail to connect to major airports. According to USHSR the rail industry can collaborate with airlines to create combined tickets for joint journeys by using rail and air. The US domestic travel market will start to reshape into making travelling easier, faster and greener while giving benefits for airlines and airports to concentrate on long-distance flights.“ We must work together across party lines to enhance this nation’s infrastructure,” says Anthony Foxx, former transportation secretary.