Western High Speed Rail Alliance brings leadership, communities together for ‘The Rail Ahead’ conference at City Center in Las Vegas

Las Vegas July 23, 2010 – Public transportation and municipal leaders from across the globe will gather Oct. 13-15, 2010 in Las Vegas for the first annual conference of the Western High Speed Rail Alliance (WHSRA) – America’s only effort to establish an integrated network of high-speed passenger rail across the Intermountain West and Western United States. 


Formed in 2009 in response to the Obama administration’s $8-billion stimulus plan for new high-speed rail (HSR) lines, the WHSRA seeks to develop and promote a HSR network among cities not yet included in the national plan. The WHSRA seeks to connect Pacific Coast cities already selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation for new rail corridors with six additional transit hubs and population centers in the Western United States to build a more comprehensive transportation grid. Cities included in the alliance are Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Reno, Nev.


“Our Western cities should be integral parts of our nation’s bold, new high-speed rail expansion,” says Jacob Snow, chairman of the WHSRA and general manager of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. “The states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah saw their populations grow between 16.8 and 32.3 percent in the last decade, according to 2009 U.S. Census Bureau figures – some of the fastest growth in the entire country. Western America is an area where greater high-speed rail access can help improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion, and influence responsible land use and smarter urban planning.”


Bill Millar, president and chief executive officer of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) will present at the conference on October 14 to explain how HSR can intersect with existing public transportation agencies.


“The time is now to build a cohesive, national rail network, but this can only happen if we work together and create the necessary partnerships to share resources and collaborate every step of the way to cost-effectively build the kind of infrastructure Americans want,” Millar says.


The first conference will include attendees from the Denver Regional Council of Governments in Denver, the Maricopa Association of Governments in Phoenix, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Reno, Nev., and the Utah Transit Authority in Salt Lake City.  Attendees from Spain, China, Germany and the United Kingdom will present case studies about HSR planning, construction, and management in their countries.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-Nevada) has been invited to attend and deliver the closing keynote address on Friday, October 15, 2010 during lunch.


For more information about the conference or to register and attend, visit www.WHSRA.com


The Western High-Speed Rail Alliance exists for the purpose of developing and promoting a high-speed rail (HSR) network to serve commuters and transport goods throughout the Rocky Mountain region. Establishing critical corridors between the Pacific Coast and other regions of the United States will invigorate local economies, assist job creation and retention, improve our environment and enable a better quality of life. Members of the Alliance agree to work jointly for the acquisition of funding, planning and construction of high-speed rail corridors across a five-state region. www.whsra.com