U.S. high-speed rail a ‘transformational climate investment’, says USHSR

Posted: 20 October 2021 | | No comments yet

The U.S. High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) has issued a call to Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act as it includes billions of investment to make high-speed rail a reality in the U.S.

U.S. high-speed rail a 'transformational climate investment', says USHSR

The U.S. High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) has issued a call to Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda as soon as possible.

Andy Kunz, CEO of the USHSR, said, “This year, the reality of the climate crisis has been driven home to millions of Americans as they have faced wildfires, draughts and ever more destructive storms. The Build Back Better Act includes a major down-payment on the battle to fight the climate crisis – including funding to bring high-speed rail to America for the very first time.”

The transportation sector is the U.S. economy’s single largest source of climate pollution, contributing 29 per cent to the country’s emissions budget every year1. The Build Back Better Act includes provisions for high-speed rail that begin the transformation of the transportation sector.

The USHSR state that there is no more powerful tool to decarbonise the transportation sector than world-class high-speed rail, and outlines:

  • High-speed rail is all-electric and can be powered by clean, renewable energy
  • It runs on brand new, dedicated tracks, allowing it to operate at speeds above 186 miles per hour
  • Because high-speed rail is so fast and convenient, it creates a time-saving alternative to driving and short-hop flights.

High-speed rail is a proven technology that has existed since 1964. It is in operation in 32 nations around the world, rapidly and safely moving millions of people every day.

Andy continued: “As we build true high-speed rail in America, it will initiate climate-friendly transformations across our entire transportation system – not just the rail sector. It will take thousands of planes out of the sky and millions of cars off the roads. It will reduce the need for new and expanded highways and improve air quality in frontline communities. And as we clean up the power sector, it will run on clean energy.”

While the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides major investments for conventional, diesel-powered rail service, it does not provide any dedicated funding for all-electric high-speed rail. Fortunately, the Build Back Better Act includes $10 billion in dedicated funding for world-class high-speed rail. This modest investment, according to the USHSR, will finally make high-speed rail a reality in the U.S., demonstrating the benefits of this remarkable technology to millions of Americans.

The USHSR state that high-speed rail is a transformational climate investment – it is a critical reason why Congress must pass the Build Back Better Act – and funding for high-speed rail in the coming weeks.


1. Fast Facts on Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions, United States Environmental Protection Agency