Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

American High Speed Rail Alliance Names Former Secretary of Transportation Rodney E. Slater to Advisory Board

October 28, 2010

[WASHINGTON, DC] The American High Speed Rail Alliance (AHSRA) today announced the appointment of Rodney E. Slater, Partner, Patton Boggs, LLP, and former U.S. Secretary of Transportation to its Advisory Board. Secretary Slater joins more than 25 prominent figures and transportation industry leaders who provide guidance to the Alliance on its mission—to advocate for the development and implementation of a high speed passenger rail network in the United States.

As Secretary of Transportation under President Bill Clinton, Slater demonstrated his ability to build bi-partisan coalitions as he worked with Congress to pass several historic legislative initiatives, including the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), which guaranteed a record $200 billion in surface transportation investment through 2003 and authorized six high speed rail corridors. During his tenure, Slater submitted the first comprehensive plan for high speed rail and announced the designation of new high speed rail corridors and extensions to the existing corridors. During this time, Slater led the Clinton administration's efforts to significantly expand the nation's high speed rail network by introducing Amtrak's Acela Express service along the northeast corridor—the first high-speed rail system in the United States. Under his leadership, the federal transportation budget doubled and in the department’s "best in government" strategic and performance plans, the scope and definition of transportation was expanded to include a focus on safety, mobility and access, economic development and trade, the environment and national security.


Transportation Department Grants $2.4 Billion to 23 States for

High Speed Rail

October 28, 2010

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that $2.4 billion would be given to 54 high speed rail projects across the country. The money was made possible through congressional appropriations. These grants reflect President Obama’s commitment to bring high speed rail to the United States. The government’s High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program (HSIPR) grants allocated the most money to California and Florida, who received $900 million and $800 million, respectively. These two projects had received big chunks of money from the $8 billion high speed rail allocation in the economic stimulus package: $2.25 billion for California and $1.25 billion for Florida. The announcement of these new grants will help California develop California’s Central Valley corridor, and Florida’s project is now just $300 million short of all the funding it needs for the Tampa-Orlando route...READ MORE

For the Full DOT Press Release click here.

DesertXpress Would Become First to Leverage Public Loan for Private HSR Venture

Infrastructure investmentThe American High Speed Rail Alliance (AHSRA) yesterday attended a news conference at the University of Nevada Las Vegas where Secretary LaHood and Senator Reid expressed their support for the DesertXpress high speed rail project linking Las Vegas to Southern California. "Over three years DesertXpress will bring more than 30,000 jobs to the region," said Senator Reid. "This train can't arrive soon enough for Nevada."

DesertXpress intends to submit an application for a federal Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan as part of their financing package. The unique economics of the Las Vegas-Southern California corridor are projected to enable DesertXpress to cover the cost of operations and capital from system revenue. This privately funded project will bring billions in investment and tens of thousands of jobs to the Southern California region in addition to the 30,000 jobs created in Nevada, both construction and permanent high-paying railroad operating positions...READ MORE.

University of Nevada Las Vegas: Employment Impact Study DesertXpress Train

President Obama Holds Meeting on Infrastructure Investment,

New Report Shows Positive Economic Impact on States and Communities

October 11, 2010

Infrastructure investmentBuilding on his Labor day remarks, President Obama renewed his call for infrastructure investment to help create jobs. In his remarks today, the President focused on the economic impacts of infrastructure investment. The President was joined by Administration officials and a number of infrastructure investment advocates, including Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, former Secretaries of Transportation Norman Mineta and Samuel Skinner, Governors Ed Rendell and Jack Markell, and Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa, Mick Cornett, Julian Castro, Michael Coleman, Michael Nutter, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Kasim Reed and Joe Riley. 

According to a statement from the White House, the group also discussed a new report on infrastructure investment from the Department of the Treasury with the Council of Economic Advisers.  The report discusses the positive economic impact infrastructure investment achieves by raising our nation’s economic output, enhancing America’s global economic competitiveness and creating good jobs for the middle class.  Specifically, the report finds that 80 percent of the jobs directly created by investing in transportation infrastructure would be in the construction, manufacturing and retail trade sectors.  The report also finds that infrastructure investments have high bang for the buck because construction costs are low due to underutilized resources, and these investments would create jobs in sectors of the economy suffering from some of the highest levels of unemployment.

The report found that providing high speed rail and improved public transportation will provide middle class families with more options to save time and money, so that they can keep more of their income for other purposes and spend more time doing what they want, rather than spending time getting there. One study concluded that a two adult household using public transportation saved $6,250 a year compared to a similar family that is unable to use public transportation.

The full report can be found here.

The White House statement is available here.

AHSRA Hosts First Advisory Board Meeting and VIP Reception

September 28, 2010

The American High Speed Rail Alliance hosted the first Advisory Board meeting, in Washington DC. Over 20 board members attended the meeting including special guests Mike Meenan, Republican Counsel House Subcommittee on Railroads and Hon. Charles “Chip” Nottingham, Commissioner Surface Transportation Board. In addition to discussing newly proposed high speed rail legislation, AHSRA announced the Alliance’s 2011 Legislative Agenda, including a draft bill, submitted to the board for discussion and further edification. Other highlights included the Alliances’ emphasis on expanding national grassroots efforts for high speed rail initiatives and a second scheduled meeting for February 2011. 

Following the board meeting, AHSRA hosted 150 guests at a VIP reception in the newly renovated Foley + Lardner LLC conference center on the Georgetown waterfront to network with members of Congress, leaders of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects, senior staff from the FRA and DOT, executives from manufacturers, construction and investment firms, professional advisors and investment managers of private equity funds, pension funds and p3’s to discuss the future of high speed rail.

This is a critical time for high speed rail. We need to continue the momentum that has already started to build—momentum that was so clearly demonstrated in the AHSRA meeting. Building a strong, unified voice now will help us achieve our mission and vision in the near future.


View All AHSRA Partners