For decades, federal policies and priorities have created a vicious cycle.
Increased spending on new roads and new lanes creates more traffic, which spurs ever-morespending on new construction and repairs. The result is a cycle of dysfunction marked by cheap greenfield development, hollowed-out communities and city centers, and spiraling carbon emissions.
A network of fast, frequent trains will strike at the heart of this dysfunction—and break the vicious cycle.
As the network expands, it will have profound impacts by:
- Stimulating smart economic growth. High-speed rail revitalizes downtowns, spurs development near train stations, and concentrates growth in urban centers.
- Supporting transit. High-speed rail boosts existing bus and rail networks by tying them together, coordinating with them, and multiplying travel options.
- Creating a new industry. As the network expands, the benefits flow to a wide range of domestic high-tech manufacturers and businesses.
Congress has a prime opportunity right now to change course and choose a better path.
By prioritizing high-speed rail in the next transportation reauthorization, lawmakers can create a virtuous cycle of better transit and smarter growth.
High-speed rail is part of an integrated network that both depends on and supports local transit systems. Vibrant local transit networks feed into the broader train network, and vice versa. It's a virtuous cycle of connectivity.
A high-speed rail network ties together small and mid-size towns and cities. Fast trains revitalize "forgotten" towns, re-connecting them and making them more accessible and appealing to family-owned businesses—and the employees those small businesses need.
People will depend on local transit to reach high-speed trains, creating political support to invest in and improve our transit systems.