Clean Transport high-speed rail brings jobs and billions of dollars in new business

Published on August 5th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


High-Speed Rail Brings Billions of Dollars to US Cities, Mayors Report Finds

August 5th, 2010 by  

high-speed rail brings jobs and billions of dollars in new business

There are a lot of people who are enthusiastic about high-speed rail in the U.S., especially since Obama announced $8 billion in awards for high-speed rail projects.

On the other hand, there are a lot of skeptical people who think high-speed rail isn’t worth the investment; it won’t work in the U.S.; the proposals aren’t fast enough and they aren’t going to achieve what they are supposed to.

I’m sure the naysayers will not be won over with one report, but a relatively new one out by the U.S. Conference of Mayors finds that high-speed rail will be a big benefit for cities and will bring in billions of dollars.

The report, The Economic Impacts of High-Speed Rail on Cities and their Metropolitan Regions examined four hub cities — Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando and Albany, N.Y.

It found that these cities and their metropolitan areas would get $19 billion in new business and 150,000 jobs from high-speed rail projects in their regions.

This would be due to more tourism, a larger potential worker pool, and help with the growth and development of technology clusters.

“It is a game changer with how people envision the city; people see the city in new ways,” Steve Fitzroy, director of operations for the Economic Development Research Group, the organization which conducted the study, told the New York Times.

From high-speed rail projects in their regions, Albany is expected to gain $2.5 billion in new business and 21,000 jobs, and South and Central Florida are expected to gain $2.9 billion/year in new business, $1.7 billion/year more in gross regional product, and 27,500 more jobs.

The results would be similar in the other regions studied — California and the Midwest. And, as I’ve written about here on Cleantechnica before, this is similar to what Europe has found from studying the results of their own rail network and improvements.. (I know, different system, but similar results).

The US is moving forward on high-speed rail, slowly but surely. As long as nothing or nobody (i.e. the US Senate) find a way to throw a wrench into the matter, the US’ transportation and financial future look at least a little bit better than it would be without high-speed rail.

An earlier version of this story was originally published on Earth & Industry.

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Photo Credit: caribb via flickr

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is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Chris G


    Rail Runner is not High Speed Rail, its just commuter rail. But then again neither is anything the country is talking about except the California and Florida projects.

    But your post brings up an excellent point. Even 79mph max commuter rail will attract passengers. The more people see that commuter rail and other services at 79mph max or 90mph max or 110mph max will save them hassle as much as time, we’ll get more people pushing for the faster ones. Its misinformed politicians that feel we must go to 225mph immediately with no other options.

  • I find it curious that one of the best-run US high-speed rail networks is ignored in reports I’ve seen about this study.

    New Mexico’s Rail Runner service between metropolitan Albuquerque and the state’s capitol at Santa Fe has been up and running for a couple years now. At a maximum 79 MPH it’s not as fast as Japan’s bullet trains, but it’s quicker and easier than driving. Recent ridership is around 5,000 per day.

    In short, high-speed rail is here, and it’s working.

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