The Western High-Speed Rail Alliance exists for the purpose of determining the viability of developing and promoting a high-speed rail (HSR) network to provide high-speed rail connections throughout the Rocky Mountain region with eventual connections to the Pacific Coast and other regions of the United States.
The members of the Alliance agree to work jointly for the acquisition of funding to conduct studies of high-speed rail options, to develop plans for high-speed rail infrastructure, and to construct high-speed rail facilities throughout the region as they are determined to be viable.
Unlike other high-speed rail associations, the WHSRA was founded by the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, (MPO), from the major transportation hubs in four states. Federal highway and transit statutes require, as a condition for spending federal highway or transit funds in urbanized areas, the designation of MPOs, which have responsibility for planning, programming and coordination of federal highway and transit investments. The planning authorities who are members of the WHSRA are prepared to use their planning expertise and resources to determine desirable high-speed intercity rail routes and integrate these routes into their respective urban transit plans. Working with the state departments of transportation in their respective jurisdictions, the members hope to create a blue print for eventual high-speed rail links between the five major metropolitan areas and the rest of the nation’s rail and transportation system.
The construction of a national high-speed rail system is necessary to catapult the United States back into the forefront of transportation infrastructure development. The synergistic combination of the economic downturn, the stimulus package with its $8 billion down payment for the implementation of high-speed rail transportation, the national commitment to ”go green,” the recognized benefits of infrastructure construction with its resulting job creation, and the pressing need to relieve overburdened highway and air congestion – all these factors combine to make this the ideal time to implement a coast-to-coast high-speed rail system.
The vision is there. Now the Western High-Speed Rail Alliance seeks to lead the charge in the western states.