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Multi-faceted Coalition to Campaign for Federal High-Speed Rail Investment

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts:
Ezra Silk (USHSRC) 860.916.8964
Brian Berg (MKC) 312.282.8260

U.S. HIGH SPEED RAIL COALITION

Multi-faceted Coalition to Campaign for Federal High-Speed Rail Investment

Groups driven by high-speed rail’s sweeping economic and climate benefits

Washington, D.C., (July 15, 2021) —A broad coalition of public interest, labor, environmental and business groups announced today that it has launched a major campaign to ask Congress to include $205 billion in funding for high-speed rail in the pending infrastructure bills, as well as robust labor standards, a High-Speed Rail Development Authority, and a Rail Trust Fund.

The growing campaign for high-speed rail has already attracted the support of a diverse coalition of 80 members of Congress, with Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Seth Moulton (D-MA), and Jim Costa (D-CA), as well as Senators Ed Markey (MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) at the forefront of calls to include funding for high-speed rail in a reconciliation bill.

A new alliance, The U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition is convening leading unions, businesses, and public servants to lend support to the campaign. A bipartisan group of former Secretaries of Transportation — Ray LaHood, Anthony Foxx, and Norman Mineta — serve as co-chairs of the coalition.

Andy Kunz, President of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association said, “The United States is the only major industrial nation that does not have high-speed rail. In France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the UK, high-speed rail lines crisscross these nations. China built a brand-new system of 23,000 miles of high-speed rail in just the last 14 years! The U.S. has none. We are launching this campaign to finally bring high-speed rail to the United States.”

Kunz pointed out that high-speed rail could cut the commute time to a little over an hour between cities like Washington to New York, Dallas to Houston, and Los Angeles to Las Vegas. He also pointed out that a recent study showed that an investment of $42 billion in high-speed rail would generate $355 billion in economic activity in the Seattle, WA to Eugene, OR corridor, an 8:1 return on investment.

The campaign announced today is mobilizing the public to contact their Members of Congress to ask that high speed rail be included in the massive set of “Build Back Better” initiatives being considered by Congress. Kunz said the effort is driving thousands of phone calls to Congress, has launched a massive social media program, and is mobilizing its coalition partners to contact key decision makers in Congress and the White House.

“The next two months will determine whether the United States makes the pivot away from highway congestion and climate disaster to the clean and efficient transportation system of the future,” said Kunz.

The Campaign will intensify its efforts during the August recess, with a special focus on in-district events and Congressional Town Hall meetings.

Learn more about the U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition at ushsrcoalition.org.

STATEMENTS OF SUPPORT FOR THE HIGH-SPEED RAIL CAMPAIGN

DENNIS PIERCE, President of the Teamsters Rail Conference said, “I thank the legislators of both parties in the House of Representatives who voted in favor of the INVEST in America Act, and for including a significant public investment in high-speed passenger rail. This investment couldn’t come at a better time for the American economy and the environment, and I urge the Senate to act promptly. The men and women of the Teamsters Rail Conference who work as locomotive engineers, trainmen, and maintenance of way employees look forward to providing the Nation with true 21st Century high-speed passenger rail service.”

ELLEN SCIALES, Communications Director for THE Sunrise Movement, Green New Deal Network member, said, “High-speed rail is a symbol of what a Green New Deal world looks like. It represents a world where our government thinks big, works with consenting communities to invest in green infrastructure and promises a visionary future for young people that fights climate change, creates millions of new jobs, and includes a post-pandemic culture of mobility and collectivism – all while catching up to every other developed country in how fast, affordable, and high-quality our transportation system is. We’re excited by U.S. High-Speed Rail Coalition’s campaign and will stand with them in this fight."

DEAN DEVITA, President of the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers, 32BJ, SEIU said, “If not today, when will our Nation address the desperate need for high-speed rail? Today is the opportunity to rebuild our transportation infrastructure.”

KATHERINE GARCIA, Acting Director of Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign and Green New Deal Network member said, “Rail is climate infrastructure, and our nation desperately needs more of it. Moving communities away from polluting cars — and an over-reliance on the personal automobile — must be a priority for Congress. It’s past time the United States funds high-speed rail like the clean transportation solution it is.”

ALAN MINSKY, Executive Director of the Progressive Democrats of America, said, “A national high-speed rail system will dramatically lower our carbon footprint and create millions of high-paying manufacturing and construction jobs, making the phrase ‘a just transition for workers’ more than a hollow slogan.”

BRETT HARTL, Government Affairs Director at the Center for Biological Diversity said, “High-speed rail is desperately needed in our fight against climate change and environmental degradation. Without high-speed rail, we face a future of endlessly congested highways, more polluting short-hop flights, and all of the environmental ills that come with that.”

Monday, July 19, 2021
bentley@ble-t.org

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