The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Phineas Baxandall, Ph.D., Senior Analyst at U.S. PIRG


High-Speed Rail Grants Show Potential for 21st Century Transportation

Statement of Phineas Baxandall, U.S. PIRG Senior Analyst, on the High-Speed Rail Grants Announced Today by U.S. DOT Secretary LaHood


"Today's announcement shows the promise of forward-looking high-speed rail investments for America's future. These projects will take us away from dependence on $4 gas. Investing in these routes will mean more efficient and convenient travel, fewer people stuck in airports, and fewer dollars wasted widening highways and adding runways."

"This is good news that Americans can feel proud of. Congress needs to get its act together and ensure that more of these investments will be made. A good place to start is by cutting the $4 billion in annual subsidies that go to highly-profitable oil and gas companies and using those funds to help get America off oil with high-speed rail."

"U.S.DOT plans to invest $2.02 billion in 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects in 15 states and Amtrak. Investments include $795 million towards increasing train speeds along the northeast corridor, $404 million will go towards expanding rail service in the Midwest, and $300 million to extend construction that will eventually link San Francisco and Los Angeles with 220 mph service. The department also announced investments to boost domestic manufacturing of rail equipment.

"Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted 98 applications, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation statement. Among the applicants was Wisconsin, where newly elected Governor Walker had previously rejected federal rail funds."

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.