CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world.


Clean Transport biden lahood high-speed rail

Published on February 9th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

4

High-Speed Rail Could Get $53 Billion More from Obama Administration [VIDEO]



In addition to the $27 million for solar and $50.5 million for offshore wind Obama just announced, Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also let us know yesterday that another $53 billion is being proposed for high-speed rail. This is in addition to the $8 billion awarded at the beginning of last year and the $2.5 billion awarded since then. This money would be spread out over the next six years for projects across the country. The goal is to give 80% of the U.S. population access to high-speed rail in the next 25 years (no, I don’t think that figure includes legal residents living in Europe,.. like me).

For those all-too-eager to complain about Obama subsidizing this form of transportation of transportation (and completely unaware of the huge magnitude of road subsidies the federal government supplies), I like this line from the White House’s press release: “The proposal will place high-speed rail on equal footing with other surface transportation programs and revitalize America’s domestic rail manufacturing industry.”

Here’s a little more on the details of the investment:

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.

This system will allow the Department – in partnership with states, freight rail, and private companies – to identify corridors for the construction of world-class high-speed rail, while raising speeds on existing rail lines and providing crucial planning and resources to communities who want to join the national high-speed rail network.

While the investment is clearly a good one from a long-term perspective and will also create a ton of new jobs, Christopher DeMorro of our sister site Gas2.org makes a good political point: “If Obama wants to get reelected though, he’s going to have to get these projects going sooner rather than later and convince elder Americans that trains are the future…again.”

And for a little historical perspective and fun, the INFRASTRUCTURIST has a nice piece on how the development national high-speed rail network could parallel the development of our national interstate system. Hopefully the Republican party doesn’t stall a national high-speed rail network for as long.

Related Stories:

1. High-Speed Rail Opposition and Support
2. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Focusing on High-Speed Rail in Florida
3. China Wants to Connect its High-Speed Rail to Europe (Largest Infrastructure Project in History)

Photo Credit: White House

Print Friendly

Tags: , , , , , , ,


About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Pingback: Clean Energy, Clean Transportation and Green Living News – Planetsave.com: climate change and environmental news

  • PSmith

    This is the sort of commitment that’s necessary to get local-level private investors interested in transit-centered development. With connection to a truly national rail network, multi-modal passenger facilities become potential magnets for investment in multi-use, sustainable development (smart urban renewal). Further still, sites that are often available for and well-suited to this sort of multi-modal use are situated along freight rail corridors and may have contamination issues or are otherwise not attractive for development (and clean up) without this sort of incentive.

    The only problem is that some estimates place the cost of a national high-speed rail network at 500 billion dollars. And as far as I know, that figure doesn’t include the regional and local rail components necessary to make the overall system a true national network. Consequently, local investors aren’t likely to be willing to risk much if it looks like this is going to die on the vine.

  • http://ecopolitology.org Tim

    Zach-

    The title and the first sentence are a little misleading. The $53 billion for high speed rail is part of the Obama administration’s proposed budget due out in a couple weeks. There is a big difference between proposing $53 billion for HSR and actually getting it.

    • http://www.zacharyshahan.com Zachary Shahan

      Thanks, Tim. That crossed my mind last night, but, for some reason, then thought it was ok & didn’t change anything. Just made some adjustments now — not only in the title — to make things more clear/accurate.

Back to Top ↑