USHSR - bringing 21st century transportation to America!

High Speed Rail is the Smart Investment for America's Future  
China speed up railway construction
China has quickly become the world's leader in high speed rail building more miles than the rest of the world put together, and at a pace that's mind boggling.  They have now decided to increase the pace of building - planning to spend $85 billion this year alone on high speed rail!

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the nation will speed railway construction, especially in central and western regions, adding support for an economy that's set to expand at the slowest pace in 23 years.  China plans a railway development fund, the government said.


"China is doing exactly what America should be doing," said Andy Kunz, USHSR President.  "They clearly understand the importance of high speed rail to the smooth, efficient operation of their entire country.  We should be paying close attention to what a smart, organized country does to continue to improve itself, and to prepare for a bright future."


"To get rich, you must build roads first, especially railroads," Li was cited by the official Xinhua News Agency as saying at the meeting.  Accelerating railway construction brings multiple benefits by promoting urbanization, stabilizing growth and improving people's lives, Li said.  Delegates to the National People's Congress from central and western provinces have told Li that the area's rail system is "still underdeveloped, and people there are eagerly looking forward to more railways," he said, as cited by Xinhua.  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 

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 no later than 4:00 PM, Thursday, August 15, 2013More info
"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
Spain regional train accident
A regional train derailed in northwest Spain due to reportedly taking a curve nearly two times faster than the design speeds allowed.  The train was not part of Spain's new high speed rail system that has been built recently.

"It's most unfortunate when any train crashes anywhere, and people suffer," said Andy Kunz, USHSR President.  "This accident was part of Spain's older, slower, regional system, and not related to their new, state-of-the-art high speed system being built in other parts of the country.  The new high speed systems don't have tight curves like this, so are designed very differently to avoid the possibilities of such a disaster."  Spain's new high speed system is extremely safe, as are all the world's HSR systems.

True high speed systems around the world have proven to be the safest form of transportation of all, and the safest of all train systems.  Japan's high speed rail system has carried over 9 billion people during its nearly 50 year history without a single fatality.  France's high speed system has an equal safety record for its 30 year history.  More info
Penn Station New York City
The first step in redeveloping New York City's Penn Station has been taken by the New York City Council with a vote to notify Madison Square Garden that it has 10 years to vacate its 45-year-old premises and find a new home, the Garden's fifth since it opened in 1879.

By a vote of 47 to 1, the Council voted to extend the Garden's special operating permit for merely a decade.

Ten years should be enough time, officials said, for the Garden to find a new location and for the city to devise plans for an expanded Pennsylvania Station, which currently sits below the Garden, and the redevelopment of the surrounding neighborhood.

"This is the first step in finding a new home for Madison Square Garden and building a new Penn Station that is as great as New York and suitable for the 21st century," said Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker. "This is an opportunity to reimagine and redevelop Penn Station as a world-class transportation destination."


"Penn Station is due for a major renovation," said Joseph Shelhorse, USHSR Vice President.  "Being from New York, I've spent a lot of time going through that station for 25 years, and it certainly could be made into a much nicer experience as a rail passenger." 

Civic leaders and some developers have long sought to rebuild Penn Station, a cramped and crowded maze for the more than 500,000 people a day who traverse it. But doing so would be an enormously complicated, multibillion-dollar undertaking that has foiled officials in the past.  More info 

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  
The early-bird catches the citi bike!
Citi Bike is serving 30,000 rides a day!

The city's new bike share system has become so popular that people scramble to find bikes in some of the busier locations such as in front of Penn Station.  Its become a competition to get a bike before others do, or the stations run out.

As 10 a.m. approached, Renato Lopes rushed up to the last working Citi Bike at 33rd and 8th Ave oozing haste and gratitude. A bike at this dock at this time was a rare treat. Citi Bike docking stations near Penn Station are regularly emptied of bikes by 8:30 a.m.    

"I'm very lucky to get one today. Yesterday I couldn't, I had to walk two blocks to get one," Lopes said. He commutes from Warren, NJ via New Jersey Transit and Citi Bike to his job at the Brazilian Consulate. In typical Brazilian fashion he prefers the later half of American rush hour, but by this time, the early risers have already claimed most of the bikes.  This is a problem of popularity of course. And users we spoke with say they like Citi Bike, they just want more of them.  More info 

New livability report
The Mineta Transportation Institute has released a new report analyzing performance measurement processes adopted by five large "livability" programs throughout the United States.

It compares and contrasts these programs by examining existing research in performance measurement methods. The "best practices" of the examined performance measurement methods for each program are explored and analyzed with respect to their key characteristics.

The report entails an appropriately comprehensive literature review of the current research on performance measurement methods from the perspective of various stakeholders including the public and government agencies. Additionally, the results of this literature review are used to examine the actual performance measures of the target programs from the perspective of different stakeholders.

The goal of the report is to determine what did and did not work in these programs and their measurement methods, while making recommendations based on the results of the analysis for potential future programs.  More info
"We need passenger rail in this country."
-Congressman Bill Shuster
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!
"High speed rail has a future in the U.S." -Congressman Jeff Denham
21st century transportation for America
End of the car culture?
President Obama's ambitious goals to curb the United States' greenhouse gas emissions, unveiled recently, will get a fortuitous assist from an incipient shift in American behavior: recent studies suggest that Americans are buying fewer cars, driving less and getting fewer licenses as each year goes by.

That has left researchers pondering a fundamental question: Has America passed peak driving?

The United States, with its broad expanses and suburban ideals, had long been one of the world's prime car cultures. It is the birthplace of the Model T; the home of Detroit; the place where Wilson Pickett immortalized "Mustang Sally" and the Beach Boys, "Little Deuce Coupe."   

But America's love affair with its vehicles seems to be cooling. When adjusted for population growth, the number of miles driven in the United States peaked in 2005 and dropped steadily thereafter, according to an analysis by Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives, an investment research company. 

As of April 2013, the number of miles driven per person was nearly 9 percent below the peak and equal to where the country was in January 1995. Part of the explanation certainly lies in the recession, because cash-strapped Americans could not afford new cars, and the unemployed weren't going to work anyway. But by many measures the decrease in driving preceded the downturn and appears to be persisting now that recovery is under way.

If the pattern persists - and many sociologists believe it will - it will have beneficial implications for carbon emissions and the environment, since transportation is the second largest source of America's emissions, just behind power plants. Demographic shifts in the driving population suggest that the trend may accelerate. There has been a large drop in the percentage of 16- to 39-year-olds getting a drivers license. A study last year found that driving by young people decreased 23 percent between 2001 and 2009. The millennials don't value cars and car ownership. 

"Different things are converging which suggest that we are witnessing a long-term cultural shift," said Mimi Sheller, a sociology professor at Drexel University and director of its Mobilities Research and Policy Center. She cites various factors: the Internet makes telecommuting possible and allows people to feel more connected without driving to meet friends. The renewal of center cities has made the suburbs less appealing and has drawn empty nesters back in.

At the Mobile World Congress last year in Barcelona, Spain, Bill Ford, executive chairman of the Ford Motor Company, laid out a business plan for a world in which personal vehicle ownership is impractical or undesirable. He proposed partnering with the telecommunications industry to create cities in which "pedestrian, bicycle, private cars, commercial and public transportation traffic are woven into a connected network to save time, conserve resources, lower emissions and improve safety."  More info  

High speed rail = high tech jobs + big construction + real estate development + manufacturing + tourism + speedy efficient transportation for all
High speed rail delivers happiness!
"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 
 In Case You Missed It...
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