Mica: U.S. Takes Next Step Toward High-Speed Passenger Rail

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Transportation has taken the next step in bringing true high-speed passenger rail to the United States, for the first time requesting private sector participation in the design, finance, construction, operation and maintenance of high-speed service, Rep. John L. Mica, R-Fla., said.

“This is the most exciting development in U.S. passenger rail in years,” Mica said.  “High-speed rail is an efficient, effective and environmentally friendly method of transportation, and a much-needed alternative to our congested highways and airspace.”

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation will begin accepting expressions of interest to finance, design, build, operate and maintain high-speed trains on the Northeast Corridor and in 10 other federally-designated corridors around the nation.

“High-speed rail is a proven success in nations across Europe and Asia.  Even countries such as Iran and Vietnam are developing high-speed rail systems for their people, yet the United States lacks a single true high-speed rail route.  It’s time to move forward into the 21st century of transportation and revolutionize the way in which we move people in this nation,” Mica said.

“Americans need new ways of travelling between major cities, and a properly structured intercity passenger rail system can and must play a larger role in our nation’s transportation future,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said.

The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 was signed into law on Oct. 16, and provides a framework for DOT to move the high-speed initiative forward. The 11 federally-designated high-speed corridors are:

  • The Northeast Corridor
  • The California Corridor
  • The Empire Corridor
  • The Pacific Northwest Corridor
  • The South Central Corridor
  • The Gulf Coast Corridor
  • The Chicago Hub Network
  • The Florida Corridor
  • The Keystone Corridor
  • The Northern New England Corridor
  • The Southeast Corridor

“If the U.S. is to remain economically competitive with our economic competitors, we must develop high-speed transportation service for our great cities, just as they have for theirs,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “The high-speed train serving the Northeast Corridor that the federal government is seeking proposals for today is the kind of far-sighted project that we need, and completely consistent with New York City’s own transportation goals.

“It would relieve our congested roadways and airports – problems that Secretary Peters and I have long worked on together – and greatly increase our economic productivity,” Bloomberg added. “It would reduce our production of deadly pollutants and the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming – the primary focus of our city’s PlaNYC sustainability agenda, and it would be a major shot in the arm for development of the next generation of transportation technology.”

— Railfanning.org News Wire