HSRA Progress Report 2022

Thank you for being part of the High Speed Rail Alliance. For years, forward-looking people like you have seen the advantages of trains and helped create new possibilities.

Now, with passage of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), robust networks of fast, frequent, affordable trains are on the horizon—if we keep up the pressure. By becoming a member you will support work like this:

  • We’ve given input to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) on studies they’ve conducted to provide recommendations for train systems throughout the United States, such as the FRA’s Midwest Regional Rail Plan.  We’ve received personal thanks and recognition from key FRA staffers, including Administrator Amit Bose.
  • In 2021, the Alliance played a key role in creating the Illinois High Speed Rail Commission, which can lead the way in revitalizing Chicago’s nationwide rail hub.
  • We provided ways for our 30,000+ followers to take action online. For example, we prepared online actions in favor of the IIJA’s groundbreaking $66 billion for new trains over the next five years, and in support of California’s high-speed rail project.
  • We have worked directly with local leaders, such as mayors and other elected officials, who want new or improved train service for their communities. We help them put together successful funding proposals and to advocate for them.
  • Since the start of 2021, we’ve given more than 100 talks by video to community groups throughout the country, plus two dozen free webinars about aspects of the work to bring modern trains to the United States.  You can find the recordings here if you missed any or would like to share them.

Now we are in the midst of the really fun work.  Here are the opportunities to shape what’s next:

  • Standing Up the Program: The FRA has sought public input on implementing different aspects of the IIJA, including a new corridor-development plan.  We are providing support to engaged leaders throughout the process.  Likewise, states will need encouragement to think big and work aggressively to seize this opportunity.
  • Getting 200 mph Trains in Operation ASAP: The California legislature must release the remaining high-speed rail funds already approved by California voters, in order to keep building the Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed line. At the same time, Brightline West and Texas Central have projects in development. Private operators will reintroduce something that American travelers have not benefitted from in many years—competition to offer the best train service.
  • The Chicago Terminal Plan: Chicago plays an outsized role in the development of the nation’s passenger rail network, and it is not up to the task. The Alliance helped to lead the way in creating the Illinois High Speed Rail Commission, and we will support it in the critical role it must play in developing a new infrastructure plan.
  • Annual Federal Appropriation: While the $66 billion advance appropriation in the IIJA got the most attention, Congress decides how to spend money every year. We need to keep leaders engaged in fully funding new and previously existing programs—in particular, the high-speed rail program, which hasn’t received funding since 2010.

For years, our members have made the High Speed Rail Alliance the go-to source on what high-speed rail is, why we should build it, and what steps supporters can take to make it a reality in North America. Now, our work is even more important as local and state leaders engage to take advantage of new federal programs.

Support these efforts by becoming a member today for only $5 a month!

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