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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Study: Successful international high-speed rail systems state case for building U.S. systems


The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) recently unveiled results from a new study showing that, based on lessons learned from other countries, high-speed rail can boost the nation’s economy, conserve energy, curb pollution, and provide a popular alternative to congested roads and airports.

“A Track Record of Success: High-Speed Rail Around the World and its Promise for America” details various examples of flourishing high-speed rail systems in other countries that support the case for establishing high-speed rail in the United States.

Benefits include:
• Job creation — about 8,000 people were involved in the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link to London.

• Development opportunities near stations — in Lyon, France, office space in areas around the city’s rail station increased 43 percent.

• Economic growth — in Germany, the counties surrounding the towns of Limburg and Montabaur noted a 2.7 percent increase in Gross Domestic Product resulting from increased access to markets provided by the Frankfurt-Cologne high-speed rail line.

• Reduced road congestion — in Spain, high-speed rail service between Madrid and Seville reduced the share of car travel on highways between the two cities from 60 percent to 34 percent.

• Reduced oil dependence — a typical Monday morning business trip between London and Paris via high-speed rail uses about one-third less energy than a car or plane.

“Now that the elections are behind us, it’s time to get serious about high-speed rail,” said U.S. PIRG Transportation Associate Dan Smith in a prepared statement. “Leaders from both parties should support long-term investment in high-speed rail for the economic, environmental and quality-of-life benefits.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/12/2010