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Global News April 2009 Edit

  • President Obama sets out a vision for high-speed rail in America, April 16 [1] topic, topic, place


Highlights of Strategic Plan, April 16, 2009 Edit

This plan outlines the President’s vision to build a network of high-speed rail corridors across America. It is the first high-speed rail requirement under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 0f 2009 (ARRA).

Vision Edit

Proposal is to transform the nation’s transportation system, by rebuilding existing rail infrastructure while launching new high-speed passenger rail services in 100-600 mile corridors that connect U.S. communities. Similar to how interstate highways and U.S. aviation system were developed in 20th century: partnership between public sector and private industry, including strong Federal leadership that provided a national vision.

  • Obama administration is moving ahead of schedule to stand up this new program—Strategic rail plan issued just 58 days after passage of ARRA, before the Congressional deadline. Application procedures expected to be published also before Congressional deadline—this spring. First round grant awards expected to be announced before the end of this summer, up to three years ahead of the schedule required by law.
  • Commitment to high-speed rail—Unprecedented $8 billion investment in high-speed rail: $8 billion in ARRA considered a down payment on a national network of corridors, along with $1 billion per year for at least 5 years (proposed in FY 2010 budget). Completion of vision will require long-term commitment from both the Federal Government and States.
  • Benefits of high-speed rail—Promotes economic expansion (including new manufacturing jobs), creates new choices for travelers in addition to flying or driving, reduces national dependence on oil, and fosters urban and rural community development.
  • High-speed rail is green— Today’s intercity passenger rail service consumes one-third less energy per passenger-mile than cars. It is estimated that if we built high-speed rail lines on all federally-designated corridors (on map), it could result in an annual reduction of 3,000,000 tons of CO2.
  • Transparent Approach—projects selected for funding based on merit/benefits of investment.
  • First round of applications will focus on projects that can be completed quickly and yield measurable, near-term job creation and other public benefits.
  • Next round to include proposals for comprehensive high-speed programs covering entire corridors or sections of corridors.
  • Additional funds will be available for planning to help jump-start corridors not yet ready for construction.

Potential projects Edit

  • Ten major corridors are being identified for potential high-speed rail projects:

Also, opportunities exist for the Northeast Corridor (Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Newark, New York City, New Haven, Providence, Boston) to compete for funds for improvements to the nation’s only existing high-speed rail service, and for establishment and upgrades to passenger rail services in other parts of the country.

  • Outreach —Administration will take a collaborative approach to formulate program; will work with stakeholders to gather feedback on strategic plan and help shape the program.


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References

  1. The White House, April 16, 2009

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