USHSR - bringing 21st century transportation to America!

 "44,000 jobs created for every $1 billion spent on infrastructure"  
Best Public Works Project in America!
Top 5 Reasons For State Visionary Project

From Carbonated TV: California begins construction on a high speed rail line this summer in a project that has survived political battles and budget shortfalls. The rail will shuttle passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in less than three hours, with stops at various cities in between. This isn't just the best current public works project in the United States because it will one day make people's life a lot easier, there are at least 5 big reasons why:

1. 20,000 jobs a year for the next 5 years
2. Climate considerations make this a big win for the environment
3. High speed rail will take thousands of cars off the road every year

4. Many will choose the train over a plane as well
5. High speed rail shows a willingness to think long-term  

The project won't be completed until 2029, and while everyone wishes it would happen faster, it is worth noting that the California and federal governments are willing to invest time and resources in a project of this scale (the Federal Railroad Administration is kicking in $3.5 billion). It would be politically easier to restrict concerns to those that will show visible results by the next election, but these sorts of projects are needed to drastically change the transportation infrastructure of the nation's most populous state. If more money can be secured for the project, construction will speed up.  More info
Trains are the safest form of transportation
Christian Science Monitor:  Despite a grim July, train accidents are rare.  This summer, images of traffic derailments have become all too familiar. Three major accidents this month alone have resulted in video and photographs of twisted metal and black smoke more frequently associated with the battlefield than the world's railways.

But even after several high-profile, catastrophic train accidents, rail is still a preferred means of transport. And the reason why is simple: Though train accidents are quite dangerous, rail transport is actually relatively safe.

According to statistics from International Union of Railways (UIC), which collects information on train accidents for all of Europe, fewer than 2,000 people died in train accidents in 2011, down from 2,371 fatalities five years earlier. And 94 % of those deaths were not passengers, but rather third parties outside the train, such as trespassers, or in cars at grade crossings.

Compare that to more than 40,000 people dying in car accidents EVERY YEAR in America alone, plus millions more permanently disabled.  Train accidents are extremely rare. For example, the first high-speed rail system was implemented in Japan in 1964, and so far they have had no fatal accidents, and have transported more than 9 billion people during that time.

According to the UIC, railway safety has been improving year on year due to the advent of better technology, a better safety culture, international efforts to coordinate safety strategies, and the advent of high speed rail, which is the safest form of all rail transportation.

"Despite the continuing challenges faced by railways in a time of economic stringency and high demand in an increasingly mobile society, it is undeniable that railways remain among the safest modes of transport." - UIC  More info
High speed rail encourages tourism
Convenient high-speed connections between Hong Kong and several Chinese border cities assist the facilitation and drive the increase of mainland tourists.

Transport is becoming more efficient and accessible for Chinese travellers to Hong Kong, the Hindu Business Line reported.

Increasingly fast rail connections between Hong Kong and Shenzhen run every 10 minutes, with similar connections from other major Chinese cities, such as Guangzhou.  This level of frequency and attractive ticket prices has increased tourism.  Hong Kong has also become a popular shopping destination for many Chinese tourists.  With an absence of sales taxes and strict regulations enforcing the sale of genuine brand-name products, some Chinese travellers even make the journey to Hong Kong for their weekly groceries.  More info 

China high speed rail hugely successful!
The tone of western reporting about Chinese high speed rail has been fairly negative.  Stories of safety concerns, lack of ridership, excessively high ticket prices that the Chinese cannot afford, inability to compete with the discount airlines, "white elephants," etc.

The safety concerns always mention the Wenzhou accident, which means the evidence has a sample size of precisely one.  And as we just saw in Spain, accidents can happen anywhere.  Maybe China's high speed rail is dangerous, but I don't see the evidence.


When I took a high speed rail trip from Beijing to Shanghai last year, the system seemed far more crowded than during my previous HSR trip in 2009. Chinese high-speed rail fares are the lowest in the world, with an average price that is 36 percent lower than the cost of an airline ticket.


And this Credit Suisse article suggests that some of the ridership fears may be overdone: "China is already home to the world's longest high-speed rail line and some of its fastest bullet trains, and the government is pouring billions of yuan into building new capacity. In fact, China plans to add more than 3,100 miles of high-speed rail track by 2015, bringing the total length of the system to about 9,000 miles."

I see no reason to believe that the massive infrastructure investment in Chinese HSR won't be a major success, especially compared to Europe, which is less densely populated than eastern China. Chinese incomes are rising rapidly, they'll grow into the system.  More info
The California High Speed Rail Authority has issued a Request for Qualifications for Right of Way Engineering and Surveying Services for the state's first phase of the visionary high speed rail system.

"This is a great opportunity for our members to get involved in some of the first contracts as they come out," said Joseph Shelhorse, USHSR Vice President.  This engineering and survey work is for approximately 600 parcels of land along the new HSR route.  The contract period will start with a Notice to Proceed (NTP) that is anticipated to extend up to June 30, 2016.  The estimated dollar value for this contract may range from between One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) to One Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,500,000).

The SOQ must be received by 4:00 PM, Thursday, August 15, 2013More info
New Amtrak trains in rigorous testing
The new Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) electric locomotives are now in a comprehensive and rigorous testing program, and are being put through the paces before entering Northeast service this fall.

On July 29, Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman, Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo and Siemens Rail Systems President Michael Cahill traveled to the USDOT Transportation Technology Center (TTC) facility in Pueblo, Colo., to get an update on the testing program and to observe a testing demonstration.    
"These locomotives are the new workhorses of the Amtrak fleet in the Northeast and they must meet our performance-based specifications and reliability needs so we can keep the region's people and economy moving," said Boardman.

The Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) locomotives are being assembled in Siemens' Sacramento, Calif., rail manufacturing plant powered by renewable energy, with parts built from its plants in Norwood, Ohio, Alpharetta, Ga., and Richland, Miss., and nearly 70 suppliers, representing more than 60 cities and 23 states. The first units being used in the testing program rolled off the assembly line in May. 

Two locomotives are at the TTC facility to undergo a series of tests, including maximum speed runs, acceleration and braking, operating with Amtrak passenger coach cars attached and testing the overall performance capabilities of the locomotive. Engineers are also validating the on-board computer system and software, as well as evaluate ride quality by using instruments to measure things such as noise and wheel vibrations.

"Safety is our number one priority," Szabo said. "Today's testing regime demonstrates the extraordinary safety standards FRA requires manufacturers and railroads to meet when building passenger rail equipment. One in seven Americans lives along the Northeast Corridor and as demand for passenger rail service continues to grow across the country, we will continue to ensure that rail equipment is safe, reliable and efficient."  More info  
Florida High Speed Rail moving forward
All Aboard Florida reached an agreement last month with The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to build a privately owned, operated and maintained passenger rail service linking Orlando to Miami. 

Under the agreement, All Aboard Florida would lease portions of the Beachline Expressway (State Road 528) right-of-way to build a high speed train.  The lease agreement is for 50 years, with an option to renew for another 49 years.  

All Aboard Florida will pay FDOT $275,000 per year, adjusting annually for inflation - the appraised, fair market value of the lease.  There are stops planned for West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale along the roughly 250 mile route which will connect Orlando International Airport with a new train station in Miami.

More than 50 million people travel between Orlando and South Florida annually for both business and pleasure.  Disney World and Orlando is the world's most popular resort destination as well.

Approximately 200 of the 230 miles of Right of Way (ROW) needed are in place and the corridor has been used for rail operations for more than a century. This gives the passenger rail service a jump start to begin operating in the shortest timeframe possible.  All Aboard Florida is focused on choosing its rolling stock, identifying exact station locations and other significant decisions that will affect the overall timeline.

The new train will become the nation's first privately financed, operated and maintained passenger rail system owned by Florida East Coast Industries, of Coral Gables.  More info  |  All Aboard facts
Tired of trying to time your morning commute just right to avoid getting stuck in traffic on the way to work and want to do something about it?

There's now an app for that.  

Building America's Future unveiled a new mobile app today called, "I'm Stuck," that is intended to allow frustrated commuters and travelers to share their pain with their congressmen and senators.


It's a tool that will allow Americans to send an email directly to members of Congress about the state of the nation's roads, rails, airports and bridges. Former Gov. Ed Rendell, a co-chair of this bi-partisan coalition pushing for increased investment in the nation's infrastructure, said people need to let their elected officials know they are tired of putting up with late trains, late planes, traffic congestion, and overburdened public transit and not just complain to co-workers and family members about it.        

He said he has testified before Congress more than a dozen times and Republicans and Democrats alike acknowledge there's a problem.  "Yet nothing gets done. Nothing is funded so we hope this app will be a permission slip from the American people to say that yes, this is a serious problem," Rendell said Tuesday.  

He said several studies illustrate the decline in America's ability to move about the country. The World Economic Forum ranked this nation's infrastructure No. 1 just 10 years ago. Now it ranks it 14th. The American Society of Civil Engineers evaluated the infrastructure and gave it a D-plus, he said.  


"This should shake things up," said USHSR President Andy Kunz. "Most of America is stuck in traffic much of the day.  A quarter of the flights are delayed or cancelled.  Our national rail system is light years behind China and other nations.  If this floods Congress with constant complaints, that should help get their attention."  Joseph Shelhorse, USHSR Vice President loved the new app saying "everyone should use this app on a daily basis to encourage real funding, fast action, and new solutions to our transportation mess."  More info  |  Get the app
"We can't depend on the old ways of doing things.

  The old ways have typically been simply building wider roads and newer roads. We've got to look for more efficient ways of moving people."
-Harry Barley, Metroplan Orlando

Time for change in American transportation
"We need passenger rail in this country."
-Congressman Bill Shuster
Stranded by Sprawl
How suburbia inhibits the American Dream

The single-family house on a cul-de-sac is an icon of upward mobility: One of the most active pro-sprawl organizations is called The American Dream Coalition.

Ironically, it turns out that too much automobile-oriented development may be getting in the way of talented people working their way out of poverty, writes New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a column called Stranded by Sprawl.

A recent study by the Equality of Opportunity Project, seeking to find out why, found that sprawling metro regions like Atlanta inhibit upward mobility, even if when they have strong economic growth. The reason, according to Krugman, is that the poor tend to be isolated in sprawling metropolises and have little access to jobs.

A child born in poverty in San Francisco or Boston has nearly triple the chance of making it to the top fifth - the true American Dream - than a child born in poverty in Atlanta, which has some of the most extensive sprawl in America, requiring a car to get around much of the region to jobs.  More info
"Everybody knows with more infrastructure, more competitiveness and productivity, economic growth will take off and social well-being go up,"  -Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto 
A new direction for America - national high speed rail network
"High speed rail is coming to America!" 
-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood 
New transportation policy for America
HIGH SPEED RAIL is the nation-building project we need for America right now.  All our industries can come together to participate in the transformation of the nation.

This national project will create millions of jobs across all sectors while stimulating every industry with a flood of new business.  In addition, HSR delivers the largest, most comprehensive solution to many of the serious problems we face as a nation including our crumbling outdated infrastructure, major congestion in every region, rising energy costs, dependence on foreign oil,
climate change, our shaky economy, declining second-tier cities, and loss of manufacturing jobs.  

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!
21st century transportation for America
High speed rail = high tech jobs + big construction + real estate development + manufacturing + tourism + speedy efficient transportation for all
High speed rail delivers happiness!
 In Case You Missed It...
Greengage 21 Jobs Report Out
This report into the direct and supply-chain job impacts of the High Speed Rail (HS2) project identifies the number of jobs that will be created in the planning, design, construction, operation, maintenance and renewal of HS2 across the life of the project, as well as jobs in retail and catering within the planned new stations.

It is an independent analysis commissioned by the Industry Leader's Group and developed by consultancy Albion Economics. It doesn't consider the induced jobs in the wider economy that will be created by the wages spent by these workers, nor the broader employment effects of regeneration and economic stimulus resulting from HS2.  Analysis has been undertaken using evidence from a number of sources to establish relationships between cost budgets, physical outputs, wage rates and employment, by type of job and skill level.  More info  
CA HSR Board approves phase 1 construction contract!
While China builds for the future, America has 'leaders' who work to block progress.  A government watchdog Tuesday sought a congressional investigation into California Rep. David Valadao's efforts to halt the state's high-speed rail project, saying the freshman failed to tell colleagues that the project could affect the property values of his family's Central Valley farmland.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to launch a probe into whether the Republican lawmaker "abused his position... to benefit his and his family's financial interests."  


In seeking an investigation, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington cited a Fresno Bee story that Valadao's family dairy owns Kings County property that could be affected by either of the two rail routes under consideration.  Melanie Sloan, a  former federal prosecutor who heads the watchdog group, said that Valadao's "failing to inform his appropriations committee colleagues that he stood to benefit from the amendment is not merely inexcusable, it violates House rules."  More info 

Dan Rather on High Speed Rail
Comedy Central Does NY Bike Share
"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
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

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

"There's no reason why Europe or China should have the fastest trains!"
-President Obama    
View conference videos!
"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!

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