Rail Alliance Praises Administration Commitment to High Speed Network

LAS VEGAS --The Western High Speed Rail Alliance today applauded the Obama Administration’s announcement of a six-year, $53 billion plan to expand work on a national high speed rail network.


Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the new initiative in Philadelphia, describing the plan as an important step toward realizing President Obama’s goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to high speed rail within 25 years.

The White House said the President’s proposal will place high speed rail on an equal footing with other surface transportation programs and help revitalize American’s domestic rail manufacturing industry.

“The Western High Speed Rail Alliance believes high speed rail will improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion. It will also create jobs and economic opportunity,” said WHSRA Chairman Jacob Snow.

The alliance was formed by transit and government agencies in five fast-growing Western population centers – Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Reno and Salt Lake City – to conduct feasibility studies, develop plans and ultimately build a high speed passenger rail network in the Intermountain West.

“In our region, the rail network could be built largely on public lands, which means a limited amount of private property  would  have to be purchased,” said Chairman Snow.  “The Western trains would truly travel at high speeds, allowing the trains to compete, in cost and travel time, with air and interstate highway travel.

“Ultimately, we would hope the network in the Intermountain West would connect east with west, forming an important link in a national network similar to the interstate highway system.”

The new Administration plan builds on the $10.5 billion down payment the Obama Administration has already committed to a national high speed rail system. The proposal announced by the Vice President also streamlines the Department of Transportation’s rail programs, making it simpler for states, cities and private companies to apply for grants and loans, the White House said.


Contact:           Doug Richardson, 202-414-6178