The U.S. is falling behind other countries with high speed rail transportation. This does not have to be the case, as the U.S. has all of the resources necessary to create a high speed rail system, there just needs to be a solid plan put in place.
High Speed Rail Alliance Executive Director Rick Harnish discussed how the U.S. isn’t that far away from having a high speed rail system and what needs to be done to get started.
Networking big and small cities in various states
Harnish stated that although the U.S. is currently behind in developing high speed rail transit, the U.S. has the resources necessary to build their own system. The goal would be to connect big cities throughout the U.S. for high speed interstate and intrastate travel for convenience and for transportation of freight.
Harnish said that 20 percent of the operation would be to make new tracks, while 80 percent would be updating existing rail systems to support the high speed transit. He mentioned that although the high speed rail would be great for commercial use for travel, another use for it is freight transportation. Using high speed rail to transport freight would clear up the interstates, and it would be more efficient, and safer.
How can progress be made? Harnish said that first, there needs to be a long term plan in place that establishes what needs to be done. Secondly, the Biden administration needs to go for small, immediate wins to get the process started, whether it be approved plans or set resources, anything needs to be established to build momentum on the project.
People are concerned that there is not enough funding for a project of this magnitude, however, there are multiple revenue streams that would support it. There would be a public investment and a private investment. The private investment would be all of the passengers that ride commercial buying tickets.