The concrete effects of your support

December 27, 2019

Please Step Forward!

You’ve recently received emails from the Alliance with testimonials to the value and importance of high-speed rail. The writers have made a compelling case for its implementation in North America, and they’ve asked you to support the work of the Alliance.

Today, I want to explain some of the concrete effects of your support. First, a quick explanation of the types of projects that the Alliance expects to advocate for in 2020. Our focus is on true high-speed rail, i.e., lines operating on tracks dedicated to passenger train operation (or mainly passenger, at least, with no more than minor ancillary freight operation). The primary focus of these projects is on short-distance lines (say, less than 500 miles), although such corridors may overlap and create much longer routes (for example, Chicago-Miami), including some with overnight service.

Actual implementation of high-speed rail routes is the responsibility of project sponsors. In the U.S., these have mostly been state departments of transportation. The most effective way to advocate for high-speed rail is to encourage, inform, influence, and guide the sponsors. The Alliance can do this by:

* Constructing a website filled with information on successful projects overseas that are similar to the projects they are sponsoring. It should also have current information on the status of the many high-speed rail projects all over America.

* Contacting them directly with advice, both during formal public comment periods and in-between, and encouraging our members to do likewise.

* Building/maintaining relationships with relevant federal-level agencies, notably the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak.

There have been many regional high-speed rail organizations around the country. But the Midwest High Speed Rail Association has been one of the few with full-time, paid staff, and it has emerged as the strongest of this small group. Rick has often been quoted in the media as the sole high-speed rail advocate commenting on topics of the day. He and the Board of Directors have decided that it’s time to formally transition to a national organization, with the intent of having a stronger voice and soliciting members (and financial support) nationally.

America needs a strong national organization to speak for supporters from around the country and to encourage elected officials and agency leaders to do everything possible to advance this technology. As a career transportation planner who works on high-speed rail projects, I know how important advocates can be.

Please step forward and be counted as a supporter of high-speed rail by contributing whatever you can—as I’m doing. To make sure we're ready to take this step forward, we've challenged ourselves to raising $60,000 by the end of the year.

If you haven't donated yet this year, will you help us reach this goal—and do big things in 2020–by making a donation now?

David Phillips
Member, High Speed Rail Alliance