Below is a press release from Congressman Seth Moulton, who represents Wilmington in DC:
WASHINGTON, DC — Last 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), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), and Mike Doyle (PA-18) joined Moulton as original sponsors of the bill.
The bill has been endorsed by The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Teamsters Rail Conference, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employee Division, and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. The introduction comes as Congress turns its focus to infrastructure.
“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.”
The introduction of the American High-Speed Rail Act follows a 30-page white paper Moulton 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;
- Prioritizing the evaluation of high-speed rail grant applicants based on equity, resilience, sustainability, economic development potential and climate;
- Prioritizing high-speed rail grants for regions not serviced by the aviation industry or where the government subsidizes aviation routes;
- 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, by:
- Better connecting 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;
- Creating 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;
- Creating 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;
- Increasing national security and exports through increased U.S. independence from imported fuels;
- Making America more competitive with China’s use of high-speed rail in its Belt and Road Initiative; and
- Creating 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. His high-speed rail plan was recently cited in CNN.
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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