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The American High-Speed Rail Act

March 13, 2021

The American High Speed Rail Act was re-introduced in Congress by Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) on March 11th. The bill creates the blueprint for a national high-speed rail network and calls for investing $205 billion in it over 5 years. It  builds on a white paper Moulton released last year, outlining how and why America should invest in high-speed rail.

Moulton’s co-sponsors on the bill are Representatives Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Suzan Delbene (D-WA), and Mike Doyle (D-PA).

The proposal comes at a time when Congress is turning its focus to infrastructure and the U.S is working its way through the public health and economic costs of the global pandemic. This is the right time to push for legislation that will provide 2.6 million direct jobs, has the power to revitalize communities across the country and can be a driving force for reducing carbon emissions to combat climate change.

Here are Representative Moulton’s thoughts on the bill:

“High-speed rail is faster, cleaner, safer and better for our economy. It will connect people to more jobs in new places, give Americans freedom and choice in how they travel, and put us on par with the rest of the world. This bill is the plan that will get us there,” Moulton said. “We spend vast amounts of money subsidizing planes, which are delayed by weather, and roads, which are crumbling nationwide. We have the chance coming out of this pandemic to think big and think differently. Let’s not waste the opportunity.”

It’s past time to create a coordinated national transportation strategy that creates competition and reduces strain on our highway and aviation networks. This bill will due that by providing $41 billion per year over five years in FRA grants for high-speed projects and it offers incentives for $38 billion in non-federal funding.

In addition to the $205 billion in dedicated federal funding, the bill proposes amendments to existing high-speed rail legislation. It would allow the Secretary of Transportation to develop new federal high-speed rail corridors. It would establish development incentives and funding flexibility for non-federal partners. It would also drive comprehensive new safety regulations and standards for U.S. high-speed rail. You can find additional details within Moulton’s white paper.

The Alliance has long advocated for a federal level, big-picture vision for a high-speed rail network. We applaud the plans and priorities laid out in the American High-Speed Rail Act—and we strongly encourage you to tell your elected leaders to get behind it.