Biden Announces $53 Billion for High-Speed Rail; the Infra Community Responds

Posted by Steve Anderson on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

“As President Obama said in his State of the Union, there are key places where we cannot afford to sacrifice as a nation – one of which is infrastructure…As a long time Amtrak rider and advocate, I understand the need to invest in a modern rail system that will help connect communities, reduce congestion and create quality, skilled manufacturing jobs that cannot be outsourced. This plan will help us to do that, while also increasing access to convenient high speed rail for more Americans.”
-Vice President Joe Biden

From the White House press release:

As the first step in this comprehensive, six-year plan, the President’s Budget for the coming fiscal year would invest $8 billion in expanding Americans’ access to high-speed passenger rail service.  In order to achieve a truly national system, these investments will focus on developing or improving three types of interconnected corridors:

  • Core Express: These corridors will form the backbone of the national high-speed rail system, with electrified trains traveling on dedicated tracks at speeds of 125-250 mph or higher.
  • Regional: Crucial regional corridors with train speeds of 90-125 mph will see increases in trips and reductions in travel times, laying the foundation for future high-speed service.
  • Emerging: Trains traveling at up to 90 mph will provide travelers in emerging rail corridors with access to the larger national high-speed and intercity passenger rail network.


“…our ability to take advantage of our top-notch resources is only as good as our ability to move goods and people quickly, safely, and reliably…And the one element of America’s infrastructure that is emblematic of a nation seeking to secure long-term economic prosperity for future generations is high-speed intercity rail.”
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood

“A National High-Speed Rail System is not only an opportunity to redefine how we travel and how our regional economies grow, it represents the type of innovation and progress that can secure a better future for our grandchildren…We applaud the administration’s vision of connecting higher-speed rail to 80% of American households within 25 years, and today’s announcement will move us closer to realizing this bold American ideal.”
-John Robert Smith, President & CEO, Reconnecting America

“Vice-President Biden’s announcement today of a 6-year, $53 billion high-speed intercity passenger rail plan is an enormous step toward giving private investors, the manufacturing industry, and the states the assurances they need to get started on these ambitious high-speed rail projects…It clearly demonstrates the Obama Administration’s commitment to putting this program on the fast track to success.”
Petra Todorovich, Director, America 2050

“High-speed rail will create a new industry that will lead to hundreds of thousands of much-needed American jobs. The Obama Administration’s commitment to high-speed rail is a commitment to building a better future for everyone…the formation of a high-speed rail network that connects to public transportation will relieve both highway and aviation congestion.”
William Millar, President, American Public Transportation Association

“For those of us in the infrastructure business, this is our ‘St. Charles moment’ – the first site to break ground on the Interstate Highway in the late 1950s. That network of roads, designed to move Americans swiftly from San Francisco to New York City was a major project resulting in job creation, economic activity and was entirely motivated by the need to ensure greater mobility for people and goods. High-speed rail investments made wisely and in important corridors will do just that.”
Marcia Hale, President, Building America’s Future

“With this long-term commitment, cities and states now have the certainty to pursue longer-term plans for rail, and businesses can move forward putting more Americans to work making this vision possible.”
Sean Barry, Transportation for America

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