USHSR Newsletter.(US High Speed Rail Association Washington, DC)

US High Speed Rail Association
Washington, DC
USHSR Newsletter
Dear Peter,
America says YES to High Speed Rail!
Everyone is talking about the importance of HSR…
Now is the time to fund HSR Federally with $50 Billion
Time for action to get America moving!
 Florida’s Brightline Chief Talks to USHSR!
 Florida’s Brightline Train – Launching Soon!
When the Brightline opens in Florida late this summer, it will be the first passenger-rail train of its kind built in the U.S. in a century. Brightline’s operators and designers are stressing the differences between their project and other intercity rail lines.

For one thing, the tracks run through city centers, as opposed to the outskirts of town, and Florida East Coast Industries and other developers are putting up buildings around the stations. The West Palm Beach station, for example, sits between City Place, a retail and entertainment village, and downtown. Two apartment buildings-one with 315 units, the other with 290-are planned to rise adjacent to the station.

John Renne, director of the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University, sees Brightline as an example of the potential for integrating transit into the fabric of urban centers.

“The typical model we’ve been following is that the government builds the transit service and development is disconnected to the train stations,” says Mr. Renne, who is also managing director of the TOD Group, a private real-estate investment and master-development firm, which didn’t work on Brightline. The Florida project “is integrating development into the station, which drives desirability and ridership.”

“Once some organization demonstrates that there is value to be generated by [high-speed rail], just like Ford did with the horseless carriage, then others will be bound to follow,” says Anthony Perl, a professor of urban studies and political science at Simon Fraser University.

The project’s developers are also trying to add amenities to the trains that other lines don’t have. USHSR Member Siemens Rolling Stock, North America-which designed and built the train cars-added wider aisles, a gap-filler so that passengers can roll luggage, strollers or wheelchairs directly onto the platform, and completely touchless bathrooms, among other things.

Meanwhile, architect David Rockwell, whose firm Rockwell Group has created hotels, playgrounds, nightclubs and the stage set for Broadway’s “Kinky Boots,” gave some cars more than the typical two groups of four seats “to allow for more social activity,” while a designated retail car will offer healthy food choices when phase two of the project is completed. Overhead storage is transparent, and there are plenty of racks for bikes. Mr. Rockwell’s proudest achievement, he says, is the tray tables that unfold to triple in size so food and computers don’t have to compete for space.

The groundwork for Brightline-whose formal name is All Aboard Florida-was laid over a century ago by Henry Flagler, a co-founder of Standard Oil. Mr. Flagler built a network of rails for passenger and freight trains in Florida with his company, Florida East Coast Railway.

For phase one of the project, Brightline is laying new rail next to existing freight tracks between Miami and West Palm Beach and updating the signal infrastructure along the whole route. The train is scheduled to start running from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale late this summer, followed by a fall extension to Miami. A second phase of the project, connecting the line to Orlando, is due to open in 2019.  Wall Street Journal Story | Brightline | Video | USHSR Membership

 California HSR Construction Update
High speed rail will revolutionize travel, doing business, and living possibilities across America!

National HSR Vision | Benefits | Trains | Stations | Infrastructure | Videos

 USHSR Member Wins $8.5 Billion UK HSR Deal
USHSR member Balfour Beatty is part of the winning team selected to build the second major HSR line in the UK linking London with the northern cities. The £6.6bn (approx. $8.5 Billion US) worth of contracts is to build the first phase of HS2 between London and Birmingham.

The contracts will support 16,000 jobs.

The final routes of the Manchester and Leeds branches of HS2 are due to be announced later.
It will include a decision over its path through Sheffield. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “As well as providing desperately needed new seats and better connecting our major cities, HS2 will help rebalance our economy” by spreading the wealth to the depressed north.

Mr Grayling told the BBC’s Today programme that the high-speed rail network will be “on time, on budget” and the government has “a clear idea of what it will cost”. The contracts to design and build areas of the high speed rail line have been split into three groups: south, central and north.

 Its Time for America to Get Serious & Invest in HSR!
As the nation starts to get serious about infrastructure, its important to differentiate real federal investment in infrastructure, and ‘privatization’ and selling off government assets. Privatization itself is not a solution to anything, and is actually a way to avoid responsibility for real federal investment in our infrastructure. “Let the private sector do it” is not responsible infrastructure leadership.

The real solution is direct federal investment in the systems we need – rail of all levels, renewable energy of all types, NOT privatization and selling off America’s vital assets!

The greatest failed privatization scheme led to the complete destruction of the nation’s incredible streetcar system, operating in over 80 cities during the decades around 1900-1945, considered to have been the finest electric transit system in the world. The entire publicly-owned national streetcar system was privatized, and within 10 years, was quickly shut down, and ripped out!

We are calling for $50 Billion in direct federal investment in high speed rail projects as follows:
  • $20 Billion for the California High Speed Rail project
  • $10 Billion for the Texas High Speed Rail project
  • $10 Billion for the Las Vegas to Palmdale High Speed Rail project
  • $10 Billion for the Northeast Corridor upgrades and new NY tunnels

These projects are shovel ready, or in California’s case, already under construction. They are already providing jobs, or ready to, and will all be transformative projects enabling major new mobility options, while also addressing congestion, climate, safety, and energy security.

High speed rail is the best transportation “deal of the century” offering up 4 major solutions with 1 investment. No other mode of transport even comes close! In fact, investing in the other modes makes all 4 problems worse. Its time for America to get serious and build the future while permanently solving our problems. We cannot afford to wait any longer!
This IS the Silver Bullet
      #1 Energy Solution     |   #1 Climate Solution   |    #1 Safety Solution    |   #1 Capacity Solution
Be part of the movement to transform transportation across America!
Join USHSR Now
US High Speed Rail Association

Washington, DC