CHICAGO (November 19, 2013)--Anticipating news this week that House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) will move to push through an authorization that will impact the American passenger rail network, Midwest High Speed Rail Association Executive Director Richard Harnish issued the following statement on Thursday:
“In the coming days, we expect that House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster will move to put forth an authorization plan that will have a major impact on passenger train service all across the United States.
Passenger train and high speed rail advocates all over the country are calling on Rep. Shuster to put forth a budget plan that will fully fund passenger rail so that states can focus their funds on building infrastructure and other capital improvements.
Passenger rail travel is more popular than ever before all across the United States. To meet growing demand, and to plan for an economic future that is less dependent on fossil fuels and highway travel, Rep. Shuster should authorize at least $14 billion annually that would allow for the purchase of new, modern trains that add seats, attract even more passengers and cost less to operate because of improved fuel efficiency.
The authorization should allow for a significant increase in the number of daily departures. Some critical routes, like Indianapolis-Chicago, for example, currently only offer one trip each day.
Rep. Shuster must also ensure that railroads are able to work together with the federal government to eliminate bottlenecks, cut trip times and reduce delays to make rail travel more convenient and appealing to millions of Americans.
As a nation, we cannot support the growing ridership and build badly needed new infrastructure for the national rail network without serious federal investment. Now is the time to significantly increase federal funding for a national passenger rail network to prepare for the high speed rail infrastructure we’ll need in the coming decades.
The economic future of towns and cities all across the United States depends on the development of a comprehensive high speed rail network. High speed rail will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and reinvigorate local economies. It cannot wait. We need Rep. Shuster’s authorization to lay the groundwork for an American high speed rail network right now.
We urge Rep. Shuster to authorize at least $14 billion per year for passenger rail in 2014.
Rep. Shuster, help revive of local Midwestern economies who rely on rail traffic every day. Call for an increase in federal funding for passenger rail in 2014.”
The Midwest High Speed Rail Association is one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations in the effort to bring high-speed rail to the United States. With thousands of members throughout the Midwest, MHSRA works to educate the public and increase popular demand for fast, frequent and dependable trains that link Midwestern economies and communities. For more information on the Midwest High Speed Rail Association, please visit www.midwesthsr.org or follow @hsrail.