High-Speed Rail Success Abroad Can be Matched in Virginia

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    Richmond — US PIRG today released a major new report, A Track Record of Success: High-Speed Rail Around the World and Its Promise for America. Drawing lessons from other countries, the study shows that high-speed rail can boost our economy, save energy, curb pollution and provide a popular alternative to congested roads and airports.

    All around the world, high-speed rail is producing results. “Investment in high speed rail is a win-win for Virginia's economy and environment. We can put America back to work and reduce emissions by investing in this critical infrastructure,” said Vasiliy Kisunko of Virginia’s Sierra Club.

    According to the report, high-speed rail provides strong economic, environmental, and quality-of-life benefits by connecting major population centers. Areas around stations are found to experience higher levels of economic growth. Bullet trains in other countries have largely replaced less efficient and inconvenient air travel while using up to two-thirds less energy than flying or driving.

    In Virginia, high-speed rail has picked up steam with over $45.5 million dollar in grant money from the federal government, which will help fund rail services between Richmond and Petersburg and Washington.

    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.

    “This report shows why other countries are investing in high-speed. It’s a smart investment that will ensure the development of thriving communities and businesses in the Commonwealth,” said Danny Plaugher, Executive Director of Virginian’s for High Speed Rail.

    “The election is behind us, it’s time to get serious about high-speed rail,” said US PIRG advocate Salmaa Elshanshory, “Our leaders from both parties should support long-term investment in high-speed rail for the benefits it will bring to Virginia’s economy and all Virginians.”

    Click here to read the report. http://www.uspirg.org/intlhsrreport

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    U.S. PIRG is a statewide, non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization. For more information visit http://www.uspirg.org.