New opportunities emerging for federal support of high-speed trains

The High Speed Rail Alliance has made it a top priority to establish regular, ongoing federal support for high-speed trains—and potential opportunities have emerged to do this.

The first opportunity comes from intense ongoing negotiations, especially between Senate Majority Leader Schumer of New York and Senator Manchin of West Virginia, on a budget reconciliation bill.

Last year’s proposed “Build Back Better” act included $10 billion dedicated to getting high-speed trains (200+ mph) running in the United States. “Build Back Better” did not pass, but the budget reconciliation process provides a second chance. Hope continues for new federal support to address the threat of climate change, including funding for America’s first clean, fast, electrified trains. The High Speed Rail Alliance and our allies in the U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition have been urging supporters to contact their senators about the need to dedicate funding to high-speed trains. We also need those senators to tell Sen. Schumer how much it matters to fight for this funding in the final version of the reconciliation deal.

The second opportunity comes from negotiations on the federal budget for 2023. Already, thanks to work by the Alliance and our Coalition allies, a group of 75 federal lawmakers from around the country signed a letter urging a key Congressional committee to allocate $3.5 billion specifically for high-speed trains in the federal budget for next year. The House side has still not done this, but we hope that Senate negotiators can still make this happen.

The United States has never directly or consistently funded fast, electrified trains—and it’s time that we did. Americans too should enjoy the benefits of fast, modern trains, just like people do in many other countries around the world. Last year’s Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act provided historic new funding of more than $66 billion for rail, but none specifically for high-speed passenger trains.

  • Dependable funding to help develop fast, modern American trains would help with every top Alliance priority:
  • Developing a national plan that integrates high-speed trains with other forms of transportation.
  • Investing in high-speed infrastructure in the Midwest in particular, because of this massive population, as well as the key role that the Midwest plays as a transportation hub for all of North America.
  • Getting 200+ mph passenger trains in service by 2030. Projects already underway could qualify for this federal funding, including in California. California already has work well underway to get high-speed trains running between San Francisco and Los Angeles—and serving millions of people in California’s Central Valley too—in less than three hours.

Thank you to everyone who has helped with this work by contacting your members of Congress. If you haven’t yet but would still like to do so, you can take action now.

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