USHSR - bringing 21st century transportation to America

"California high speed rail is the most important and innovative project in America!"
Rethinking transportation policy
As we move into the 21st century, it's becoming ever more obvious that we need major changes to the nation's transportation systems, and how they are funded.  Our current modes are struggling with crumbling infrastructure, skyrocketing fuel costs, overloaded systems, dwindling revenues, and tight budgets.  All indications point to every one of these factors getting worse over time.

In a recent article by noted urban planner Stu Sirota entitled "Our trillion dollar dirty little secret", he outlines the situation we find ourselves in saying "It's time to recognize that we can't maintain the roads we have now, and that continuing down the path of highway expansion is both unaffordable and unnecessary."

Sirota highlighted the fact that highway expansion has followed the trend projections of continued increases in driving for 6 decades.  That all changed in 2005 when driving in America reversed and began declining and has continued downward ever since.  There are many reasons for this continued decline in driving, most of which are new trends in urban lifestyles, changing demographics, high fuel costs, increasing congestion - most of which look like permanent trend shifts.

The bottom line is that if transportation agencies updated their models to acknowledge that the VMT (vehicle miles traveled) trend line of the 20th Century can no longer be used to predict traffic volumes of the 21st Century, many of the planned highway expansion projects now on the books could no longer be justified.  Now that money is tight, every dollar must be carefully spent in ways that deliver the most mobility in the modes most in demand, where the trends are headed - such as rail.

-Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did eight years ago
-New generation (Mil�lennials) demand new urban American Dream with less driving
-Transportation policy in the United States, however, remains stuck in the past
-It's time for America to hit the reset button on transportation policy-replacing the policy infrastructure of the Driving Boom years with a more efficient, flexible and nimble system that is better able to meet the transportation needs of the 21st century


From Transportation for America:

-One in nine U.S. bridges is structurally deficient

-There's 66,405 deficient bridges in America

-Laid end to end they would stretch from Mexico to Canada
-Americans take 260 million individual trips over 
 deteriorating bridges every day   More info

New direction for transportation in America
New transportation policy for America
HIGH SPEED RAIL offers the largest, most comprehensive solution to many of the serious problems we face as a nation including crumbling outdated infrastructure, major congestion in every region, rising energy costs, dependence on foreign oil, climate change, shaky economy, declining second-tier cities, and loss of manufacturing jobs.  Addressing ALL of these problems simultaneously with high speed rail makes it the bargain of the century, and the smartest thing we can invest in as a nation.

High speed rail is proven successful and profitable everywhere its built, and has nearly a 50 year track record of safe, efficient operations moving billions of people.  High speed rail is currently in operation in more than 20 countries, under construction in more than 10 countries, and in development in another 14 countries.  It's time for America to be part of this winner's list!  More info 
High speed rail is a reality all over the world!
A new direction in transportation
The Driving Boom-a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the U.S.-is over.


Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did eight years ago. The unique combina�tion of conditions that fueled the Driving Boom-from cheap gas prices to the rapid expansion of the workforce during the Baby Boom generation-no longer exists. Meanwhile, a new generation-the Mil�lennials-is demanding a new American Dream less dependent on driving.

Transportation policy in the United States, however, remains stuck in the past. Official forecasts of future vehicle travel continue to assume steady increases in driving, despite the experience of the past decade. Those forecasts are used to justify spending vast sums on new and expanded highways, even as existing roads and bridges are neglected.  


Elements of a more balanced transportation system-from transit systems to bike lanes-lack crucial investment as powerful interests battle to maintain their piece of a shrinking trans�portation funding pie. The time has come for America to hit the "reset" button on transportation policy.  More info   

New Report on Condition of Bridges
A new report just released by Transportation For America outlines the sorry state of our crumbling infrastructure from sea to shining sea.

Right now in America there are 66,503 structurally deficient bridges!!
Every one of these bridges is still in full use every day, jammed with cars and heavy trucks.  This has the makings of a real disaster if nothing is done soon.

In the middle of this dire situation, Congress made major changes last summer to the new transportation law, eliminating the dedicated bridge repair program and making 90 percent of our deficient bridges ineligible to receive repair funding from the largest highway program.  Probably time to rethink that one before the next bridge collapses!  More info 
Congressional Hearing on freight rail
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing yesterday on How Logistics Facilitate an Efficient Freight Transportation System

Witnesses included:  David Abney, Chief Operating Officer, UPS; Tracy Rosser, Senior Vice President, Transportation, Walmart; Edward Hamberger, President & CEO, Association of American Railroads; Scott Satterlee, Senior Vice President, Transportation, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, on behalf of the Transportation Intermediaries Association; Mark DeFabis, President & CEO, Integrated Distribution Services, on behalf of the International Warehouse Logistics Association; and Richard Fisher, President, Falcon Global Edge; on behalf of the Airforwarders Association.  More info 
Russia to join high speed rail club
Russia is making news again, this time for high speed rail.  The Moscow Times reports that international rail giants together with state and foreign investment banks are eyeing the role they can play in one of the most expensive infrastructure projects in the world - the high-speed rail line to be built from Moscow to Kazan, 800 kilometers east of the capital.

Last week at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, President Vladimir Putin announced plans to spend 450 billion rubles ($13.6 billion) on three major infrastructure projects in the near future.  One of them is a new high-speed rail line to connect Moscow and major cities to the east: Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary and Kazan.  More info  

CNN Business Traveler rides China HSR
"High speed rail is coming to America!" 
-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
USHSR in Congressional Energy EXPO
The US High Speed Rail Association was an official exhibitor and presenter at the recent 16th Annual Congressional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO + Forum.   Held in the Cannon House Office Building, the event showcased advances in renewable energy and energy saving technologies.

"It was a great event, with a big turnout of Congress members and staffers," said USHSR President Andy Kunz.  "High speed rail has a very important role to play in saving the nation energy, and can also be powered by renewable energy."   More info 
21st Century Transportation for America

"The match between billions if not trillions of dollars in private capital in search of yield and America's infrastructure investment needs could become one of the great investment and growth stories of this decade" -Jay Peloski
 In Case You Missed It...
Dan Rather on High Speed Rail
Comedy Central Does NY Bike Share
HSR, the path to prosperity for everyone
New high-speed rail lines are credited with sparking a real estate and housing boom, among other economic benefits, in smaller cities in China.  Now experts are debating whether rail modernization can have the same effects in the U.S.
Matthew Kahn, co-author of the study, believes the same could apply in California where high-speed rail is planned, more specifically smaller communities becoming connected to "superstar cities", as he calls them, like San Francisco.
Kahn and his co-author Siqi Zheng found bullet trains unintentionally created new suburbs called "sweet spots" about 60 to 470 miles from mega cities.  Bullet trains provide big-city benefits despite the distance without "downsides like high housing costs, overcrowding, or air and water pollution," Kahn said.

"There's really no debate about it, high speed rail will benefit America every way you can imagine," said Joseph Shelhorse, USHSR Vice President.  "Revitalizing cities, creating new cities, and opening up all sorts of new living and working possibilities for millions of people... that's what high speed rail delivers every day."  
More info 
The US Rail Revolution is Underway!
The Federal Railroad Administration, along with its 33 state partners and the District of Columbia, is laying the foundation for a 21st century passenger rail network.  With $10.1 billion in federal funding available through the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program, they are moving forward with 150 planning and construction projects.

To date, 50 construction projects in 19 states and the District of Columbia worth more than $3.2 billion are either complete, under construction, or set to begin construction within 6 months.


The new state-of-the-art high speed rail system in California is part of this - set to begin construction this summer on the first phase in the Central Valley after years of planning, design, and engineering.  Following phases will complete the direct connection between Los Angeles and San Francisco, expected to become one of the busiest high speed rail lines in America, and the world.  More information

"Dollars spent that get Americans out of cars will ease traffic, save money, reduce pollution, slow global warming, and make us less vulnerable to volatile oil oligarchs." -Bloomberg
High Speed Rail is Coming to California
USHSR membership puts you at the forefront of a new revolution in 21st century, sustainable transportation in America. Be out in front of the trends and play a leading role in America's next industrial revolution, and real estate boom!  Join today
Check out the photos from the conference!
Click to watch Summit wrap-up video
"Thanks to hard work by the folks here at DOT and by our partners--like those in the
US High Speed Rail Association--the future of passenger rail in America has never been brighter." -Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
21st Century Transportation for America

"There's no reason why Europe or China should have the fastest trains!"
-President Obama    
View conference videos!
21st Century Transportation for America!

Our mission is to build widespread public, business, and political support for a major investment in a national high speed rail network.

US High Speed Rail Association