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AUSTIN, Feb. 9 – Investment in high-speed rail will help solve our economic, energy, and environmental problems by creating jobs, cutting down on oil consumption, and reducing global-warming pollution.
Those are some of the findings in The Right Track - Building a 21st Century High-Speed Rail System for America, a new report from the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG).
The report – which lays out the advantages of high-speed rail and concludes with 11 recommendations for policy-makers – comes just two weeks after the Obama administration announced that 31 states will receive one-time high-speed rail stimulus grants totaling $8 billion.
“The report issued by TexPIRG confirms that a robust, high-speed rail system will go a long way toward solving some of our nation’s economic, energy, environmental, and transportation challenges,” said Rep. James L. Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
“The development of high-speed rail in the United States is an historic opportunity to create jobs, develop a new domestic manufacturing base, and provide an environmentally-friendly and competitive transportation alternative to the traveling public,” he continued.
A national high-speed rail network that competes with inter-city commuter air travel would create up to 1.6 million construction jobs, cut our energy consumption, improve travel and assist in the resurgence of American manufacturing, The Right Track reports.
In an interview with TexPIRG, John D. Porcari, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, echoed Oberstar's words.
“The recent award of almost $8 billion in high speed rail grants to corridors throughout the country marks the beginning of a new transportation era,” Porcari noted. “President Obama’s vision to provide fast, safe, and convenient high speed rail between our great cities will reduce congestion, promote energy independence, and build a sustainable future.”
The Right Track analyzes the potential of high-speed rail in nine different regions of the country and presents eleven public-interest recommendations for future investment.
According to data cited in the report, the completion of a national high-speed rail network would reduce car travel by 29 million trips and air travel by nearly 500,000 flights annually.
“Nobody seriously doubts that high-speed rail will play an increasingly important role each coming decade. The quicker we build the system, the sooner America will enjoy the benefits. High-speed rail requires long-term commitment from all levels of government,” explained Phineas Baxandall, a Senior Analyst with TexPIRG and one of the authors of the report.
Baxandall, who led a tele-press conference to release the report on Tuesday, also authored a new In The Public Interest column in the Huffington Post entitled “What’s Next for High-Speed Rail?”
In the column, Baxandall noted that the U.S. needs a “great public works project” to build the high-speed rail network the nation needs.
Click here to read The Right Track executive summary and to download the report.
Click here to read Baxandall’s column.
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