Economic Growth

The Economic Benefits of High Speed Rail

The economic benefits of high speed rail are undeniable. According to a recent report sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Siemens, by 2035 high speed rail (HSR) can, for example, impact four cities in the following ways:

  • In Los Angeles, as much as $7.6 billion a year in
    new business sales, producing up to 55,000 new
    jobs and $3 billion in new wages
  • In Chicago, as much as $6.1 billion a year in new
    business sales, producing up to 42,000 jobs and
    $2.5 billion in new wages
  • In Orlando, as much as $2.9 billion a year in new
    business sales, producing up to 27,500 jobs and
    $1.2 billion in new wages
  • In Albany, as much as $2.5 billion a year in new
    business sales, producing up to 21,000 jobs
    and $1.1 billion in new wages

The report found that jobs, wages, business sales and overall added value to the economy will significantly increase with the introduction of HSR. For larger cities, HSR service will improve access to labor markets and consolidate higher-end business, financial and cultural/tourism services. For mid-sized and smaller cities, HSR service will expand access to specialized regional talent and help leverage local investments for accessing larger markets see: Economic Impacts of High-Speed Rail on Cities and their Metropolitan Areas.

In another report, the Economic Development Research Group estimates that 24,000 jobs are made each year for every billion dollars that are invested into HSR. Not only will the implementation of HSR offer immediate jobs to help rebuild a slumping economy, it will provide long term benefits to society as a whole. Both new and rebuilt train terminals can become the focal points for increased commercial and residential development while boosting tourism, improving travel and easing the everyday business traveler’s commute.

HSR stations located in suburban areas will bring a sense of vitality and life to the surrounding communities. These newly developed stations can provide such user friendly features like bike trails and walking paths that will invite people to be both active and environmentally savvy. Stations will also add to the property value of the neighboring area. Research shows, for example, that family residences located near commuter rail stations in Boston have a 6.7 percent premium over homes located elsewhere.

According to the Environmental Law and Policy Center, the economic value of the improved mobility from HSR has been valued at $13.2 billion through 2030. HSR will provide $1.3 billion in highway congestion relief and $700 million in airport congestion relief. In fact, a single railroad track can carry as many people as a ten-lane highway at a fraction of the cost. HSR can pull together regional economies around America and is the unique solution to providing interconnectivity to all forms of travel, benefiting all Americans.

The American High Speed Rail Alliance keeps Members of Congress and federal agencies informed regarding the economic impact of high speed rail investments across the country, not only about the increased economic activity it will bring to our nation, but also the private sector and rail industry jobs created in engineering/design, urban planning, operations, construction, signaling, suppliers and rolling stock.