Congressman Seth Moulton Introduces American High-Speed Rail Act

Below is a press release from Congressman Seth Moulton’s Office:

WASHINGTON, DC — This week, Representative Seth Moulton (MA-06) introduced the American High-Speed Rail Act, which would invest $205 billion federal dollars into high-speed rail, create at least 2.6 million direct American jobs over five years, and provide Americans with a new travel option that’s safer than driving, cleaner than flying and never delayed by weather. Representatives Brendan Boyle (PA-02) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01) joined Moulton as original sponsors of the bill.

“High-speed rail is faster, cleaner, safer and better for our economy. It will connect people to more jobs in new places, give Americans freedom and choice in how they travel, and put us on par with the rest of the world. This bill is the plan that will get us there,” Moulton said. “We spend vast amounts of money subsidizing planes, which are delayed by weather, and roads, which are crumbling nationwide. We have the chance coming out of this pandemic to think big and think differently. Let’s not waste the opportunity.”

Rep. Brendan Boyle said: “The American High-Speed Rail Act is the right plan at the right time for the American transportation system. As we prepare to embark on the era of Build Back Better, it has never been more crucial to address our nation’s infrastructure in a way that supports and strengthens our commitment to improving both the economy and the environment. High-speed rail must be a significant part of our infrastructure plans moving forward as we look to bring in the next generation of safe, efficient rail travel for American business and the American people.”

Rep. Suzan DelBene said: “Building a national high-speed rail system would not only reinvigorate the American transportation system but also support our local economy at a critical time. As we recover from dual public health and economic crises, an infrastructure project of this size would create millions of new jobs while investing in cutting-edge, green technology and building a path to new technology and innovation hubs across the country. I am excited to introduce this bill with my colleague Rep. Seth Moulton and work with the Biden administration on developing a stronger high-speed rail system.

The introduction of the American High-Speed Rail Act follows a 30-page white paperMoulton released in May, in which he outlined a vision for building U.S. high-speed rail and the benefits of doing so.

The bill will help build a national high-speed rail system by:

  • Investing $41 billion annually in high-speed and higher-speed rail through grants administered by the Federal Railroad Administration over 5 years, with incentives for $38 billion or more in nonfederal funding;

  • Expanding metrics used by states and cities for transportation planning so they include the potential wider economic benefits projects return to the community in addition to the immediate, important economic and environmental considerations they are currently required to consider.

  • Creating funding flexibility and transit-oriented development incentives for non-federal partners, including state and local transportation agencies and private partners; and

  • Developing comprehensive, performance-based safety regulations and standards for high-speed rail to reduce project costs and expedite development.

If the vision the bill lays out is realized, it would provide the country with a number of transportation improvements, including:

  • Better connected economic megaregions along high-speed rail corridors to increase productivity and global competitiveness, with a return on investment that far outweighs the cost of capital investment;

  • A coordinated, national transportation strategy that creates competition and reduces strain on our highway and aviation networks as high-speed rail serves high-volume corridors up to 750 miles;

  • Clean, reliable, and safe transportation from city centers to city centers, with less time in security lines and waiting in terminals, fewer weather disruptions;

  • Building more walkable communities with economic development around train stations in city centers;

  • Connecting hot job markets to communities where it is more affordable to live;

  • Increased national security and exports through increased U.S. independence from imported fuels;

  • An America that is more competitive with China’s use of high-speed rail in its Belt and Road Initiative; and

  • The creation of new American industries, such as manufacturing and high-grade steel production, even in communities that are far from the proposed new transportation corridors.

Moulton has emerged as a leading national advocate for high-speed and commuter rail since he arrived in Congress five years ago. He recently helped secure more than $1 billion for rail transportation in the CARES Act, including $492 million for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

He was one of the first elected officials in Massachusetts to endorse the North South Rail Link, a plan that would connect commuter lines servicing Boston, increase their reliability and reduce traffic in America’s most gridlocked city. He also commissioned the Harvard Kennedy School to study transportation issues including North South Rail Link’s true cost and the hidden amount that the state spends subsidizing its gridlocked roads. Harvard found it costs Massachusetts residents $64 billion per year to sit in traffic, whether they own a car or not.

Prior to serving in Congress, Moulton worked as a project manager for a high-speed rail project that is likely to become the first viable high-speed option in the country.

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