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Bringing high-speed rail to America

19 March 2017  •  Author(s): Andy Kunz, President and CEO of the US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR)

Bringing high-speed rail to America

Amidst America’s transportation problems, high-speed rail is finally under construction in California with other projects around the country advancing through study and planning stages. President and CEO of the US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR), Andy Kunz, explains to European Railway Review that this progress could signal a shift from America’s car culture to rail.

The US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) was formed in 2009 with the purpose of bringing a national high-speed rail vision to America. We were inspired into action at the UIC Conference in Amsterdam in 2008, which showcased the European high-speed rail system that had evolved into a vast network linking nations and transforming lives. We knew the time was right to help bring high-speed rail to America.

The first step was creating a national vision map showing a 21st century, 17,000 mile national high-speed rail system built in logical phases for completion by 2030. This began the long dialog about the value of rail in America. The goal of USHSR has always been to build widespread public, business, and political support for a major investment in our national high-speed rail network. We build support through a series of national events, workshops, policy papers, advocacy work, memberships, media articles, videos, publicity, social media, and more.

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One response to “Bringing high-speed rail to America”

  1. J Howard Harding says:

    Andy Kuntz and his cohorts are to be congratulated for their vision and persistence regarding U.S. high speed rail development. There is a factor in our nation’s failure so far to advance this technology not mentioned by Kuntz that deserves attention. Outside the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and perhaps California, Amtrak’s skeletal service network is unknown to many — perhaps a majority — of U.S. residents.
    For example, Amtrak’s once-daily round trip trains pass through most cities between the east coast and Mississippi River between midnight and 6 AM. Similar service limitations exist between the Mississippi River and west coast, and between northern and southern U.S. cities. With fewer trains per day per route than most European routes have per hour, very few Americans ever see, let alone ride, intercity trains. It is thus difficult to engender wide-spread popular support for more train service at any speed. Just ask the thousands of members of the National Association of railroad Passengers (NARP) and other U.S pro-passenger rail groups to recite their decades long experiences!
    The abject failure of previous U.S. attempts to build high speed train service on the ashes of Amtrak suggest to me that the most effective way to bring modern intercity rail passenger service to the U.S. would include:
    * Building the first HSR track segments around/ over/through existing service bottlenecks such as east of Chicago south of Lake Michigan; between Los Angeles and California’s Central Valley; between Newark New Jersey and Providence RI.
    * Simultaneously, continue enhancing existing passenger service routes in a manner similar to what is being done between Chicago-St. Louis and Chicago-Detroit to reduce travel times and otherwise enhance service.
    * Operate at least two daily round trips, seven days per week on all Amtrak routes.

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