Americans want better trains, new poll shows

A new poll makes it clear that Americans want better trains: 78% of respondents said having a strong passenger rail system is important. The poll was conducted by Change Research for the Rail Passengers Association, and it asked a diverse group of Americans for their opinions on passenger rail, finding strong support among all political parties, social, and ethnic groups.

This poll comes at a time when momentum for fast, frequent, and affordable trains has been building. The recent Bipartisan Infrastructure Law made record investments in transit and passenger trains, while creating new opportunities to shape the future of train travel around the country. We must take advantage of this new funding and harness the strong support for passenger rail that this poll highlights.

Key Findings

  • 60% of respondents support investing $100 billion for passenger rail infrastructure, and 42% would invest more.
  • Two-thirds of respondents think there should be a national railroad plan.
  • 66% also think there should be a national high-speed rail plan, and 57% say they would use high-speed rail if it existed in their area.
  • 66% say they support adding more routes to the current rail network.

Demographic findings of support for a strong passenger rail network

  • 95% Democrats, 61% Republicans, and 77% Independents
  • 80% women and 75% men
  • 91% Black or African American, 81% for Hispanic or Latinx, and 75% for White or Caucasian.
  • 82% urban, 74% rural, and 78% suburban

Let’s build it

Thank you to the Rail Passengers Association for conducting this survey and providing a valuable tool for our shared advocacy efforts.

The High Speed Rail Alliance will continue our work at what we do best: advocating for high-speed rail as a key part of networks integrated with other forms of transportation. We believe it is important to get an American success story for high-speed rail in service this decade. We support efforts to do this in states and regions across the country that are already working to do this, such as California. We have a particular focus on the potential for Chicago to serve as a hub for new fast, modern trains that serve the entire Midwestern region and to improve service across the continent.

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