FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 10, 2010
11:58 AM

CONTACT: US PIRG

Dan Smith
Federal Transportation Associate
Office: 202-546-9470 x340
DSmith@pirg.org

New US PIRG Study: High-Speed Rail Can Boost Economy, Reduce Traffic

WASHINGTON - November 10 - Drawing lessons from other countries, a new study from U.S. PIRG shows that high-speed rail can boost our economy, save energy, curb pollution and provide a popular alternative to congested roads and airports.

The report, A Track Record of Success: High-Speed Rail Around the World and Its Promise for America, details a number of examples from around the world that make a variety of cases for high-speed rail. Some of the benefits include:

·Jobs: About 8,000 people were involved in the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link between the tunnel and London.

·Development opportunities near stations: The amount of office space in the area around the rail station in city of Lyon, France has increased by 43%.

· Economic growth: In Germany, the counties surrounding the towns of Limburg and Montabauer experienced a 2.7% increase in their gross domestic product as a result of the increased access to markets provided by the Frankfurt-Cologne high-speed rail line.

·Reduced road congestion: High-speed rail service between Madrid and Seville reduced the share of car travel between the two cities from 60% to 34%.

·Reduced oil dependence: A typical Monday morning business trip between London and Paris via high-speed rail uses approximately a third less energy as a car or plane trip.

Over the last two years, the federal government has distributed $10.4 billion in grants to construct or plan high-speed rail, including incremental measures that increase the speed and reliability of existing passenger rail. In these two rounds, 37 states and the District of Columbia have applied to the Federal Railroad Administration to support 341 project applications. Those requests totaled over $65 billion – about six times the amount made available by Congress.

“Now that the elections are behind us, it’s time to get serious about high-speed rail. There is no such thing as a Republican or a Democratic rail track,” said U.S. PIRG Transportation Associate Dan Smith, “Leaders from both parties should support long-term investment in high-speed rail for the economic, environmental, and quality-of-life benefits.”

In a statement about U.S. PIRG’s report, Glen Bottoms of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation agrees: “This report reinforces our view that building a high-speed rail network is a prudent and cost effective use of America’s resources over the long-term.”

For the full report, click here.

For further analysis of the post-election outlook for high-speed rail, click here.

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U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.



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