The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Dan Smith
Federal Transportation Associate
Office: 202-546-9470 x340

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


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.

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

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

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

"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

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

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.