US HSR Newsletter

US High Speed Rail Association
Washington, DC
USHSR Newsletter


America is in big trouble on multiple fronts, yet the majority of our “leaders” are asleep at the wheel with no real solutions even being worked on, evaluated, or proposed!
In response, USHSR has compiled a list of the top 10 reasons to bring high speed rail to America to solve most of our current, and soon-to-land problems we face (epic congestion, foreign oil dependence/escalating resource wars, climate change, crumbling infrastructure, endless highway deaths, economic problems, etc).
Its time for reason and logic to trump oil money flooding our politics keeping policy stuck in the 1950s.
America faces epic congestion in every major metropolitan region of the country, costing $124 Billion per year in wasted time and fuel. Our transportation departments have no plans in the works that will solve this, and in fact continue to call for widening of our highways – which have all made congestion worse.
High speed rail is transformative – delivering 200 mph transportation every train, every day – without delays or congestion, ever.
High speed rail offers fast, reliable service when it counts most – during rush hour and holiday travel!

Flying in America has become an unreliable nightmare! Airlines continue to cut corners (including staff and maintenance) and legroom, while security hassles, delays and lines keep getting worse. Flights are constantly canceled or delayed for no good reason, while the traveling public is regularly mistreated and abused by the airlines – making the entire experience miserable and unreliable. Rising global oil prices guarantee aviation will continue getting worse, year after year.

Flight delays cost America more than $31 Billion per year in wasted time!
High speed rail delivers 220 mph transportation every train, every day conveniently and reliably – on time, and directly into city centers. No hassles, no security lines, no delays, and plenty of room to work or play.
  3)  SAFETY
Driving in America has become a deadly proposition – with 43,000 people killed every year in car accidents! That’s more people killed than all the world wars combined, and far more than all terrorist acts combined.
In addition to the deaths, more than 1 million Americans are seriously injured in car accidents every year!
American transportation officials have nothing on tap to solve this epic problem! Nothing. And they continue building roads as if there is no problem, or the endless deaths and injuries don’t matter!
High speed rail is the world’s safest form of transportation proven by decades of safe operations. Japan was the first nation to build high speed rail in 1964, and has since transported 10 billion passengers without a single fatality! France has a similar record with their 30 years of high speed rail operations, as do a number of other countries.
America is in deep trouble due to our extreme oil dependency for 98% of our transportation! America is by far the most oil-dependent nation in the world, hooked on oil for our every move. No other nation comes close to our epic oil dependency (addiction).
America uses 20 million barrels of oil EVERY DAY, 70% of which is for transportation. Maintaining this enormous flow of oil requires America to dig up the oceans, protected national forests, the artic tundra, risk our clean drinking water, our health and safety, and fight expensive wars all over the planet! None of this is sustainable, or desirable. As President George W. Bush famously said “we gotta get off oil”.
America has only 5% of the total world population, but uses 25% of the total world’s oil. And we only have 2% of the known world oil reserves. This means we are extremely vulnerable and dependent on the rest of the world for most of the oil we need to run the nation. This includes running all our transportation networks (cars, trucks, buses, airplanes, ships, diesel trains, etc.), the majority of our agriculture production and food delivery, and running the U.S. Military (the world’s largest oil consumer). The military is rapidly burning up precious oil, while guarding the flow of oil to our gas-guzzling SUVs! This is clearly not sustainable or smart.
Many of the nations that still have oil left are in troubled, terrorist-ridden regions of the world. Our serious oil dependency shapes U.S. foreign policy, defense/military policy, and forces us to spend hundreds of billions of dollars chasing, securing, and shipping oil supplies. U.S. oil dependence guarantees America will be engaged in resource wars for decades (until we get off oil). People are actually dying so we can continue driving single-occupant SUVs!
In addition, U.S. foreign oil purchases create a massive trade deficit close to $700 Billion per year!
2/3 of the oil we use comes from foreign nations mostly from the other side of the world. To secure this oil, and to make sure it continues flowing to America, as much as half of our $800 Billion annual U.S. Defense budget goes directly to the protection of oil shipments back to the USA – to fill our SUV gas tanks! This represents a massive $400 Billion per year subsidy to oil-based transportation!
(Why aren’t the Think Tanks aren’t screaming about this huge subsidy?)
Driving gas-guzzling cars requires expensive wars for cheap oil supply
High speed rail is the world’s greenest form of transportation, and can be 100% powered by renewable energy, bypassing the entire global-oil-military-supply-chain!
The California HSR system under construction in the Central Valley will be powered 100% by renewables.
America faces epic problems with its light freight shipping network, made up mostly of long-distance trucks, and airplanes. This shipping system clogs our highways and airways, and has an enormous carbon footprint (and major road surface damage).

High speed rail offers a super efficient, light freight shipping infrastructure in combination with its high level passenger transport. Light freight includes everything transported by FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc. – mostly in long distance trucks and/or airplanes. (This is not to be confused with “heavy freight” like lumber, oil, coal, etc. transported by the big rail freight operators like BNSF, CSX, etc).

This will revolutionize America, and greatly lower the cost (and increase reliability) of shipping light freight goods throughout the country… including everything shipped
Transportation is the single largest cause of climate change because it produces the most carbon into the atmosphere. The American transportation system is the most inefficient on earth, with the majority of the country driving gas-guzzling, single-occupant SUVs hundreds of miles a day around sprawling communities.
Changing our transportation to carbon free forms is of absolute urgency, and the single most important thing we can do to lessen the dangerous effects yet to come from climate change.
Our country is in danger with many of our major cities located in low lying land along our coasts. Most of our transportation and energy systems continue to add to the climate problem by cranking out tons of carbon every day, which will make the climate problem far worse in the coming decades.
The most important thing we need to do is drastically cut our carbon output into the atmosphere, while systematically changing our systems to be carbon free, and building in resilience to our transport networks.

High speed rail is the world’s greenest form of transportation, and can be 100% powered by renewable energy, making it Zero Carbon Transportation. Since transportation is the single largest source of carbon, changing our transport networks to low/no carbon alternatives is an urgent need.

High speed rail offers such high capacity, that it regularly replaces both flying and driving, removing carbon intensive airplanes from the skies, and carbon intensive autos from the roads, and the transformation can be as fast as building new lines.

The California HSR system under construction in the Central Valley will be powered 100% by renewables.
America faces a serious housing crisis in providing enough affordable housing for the population. In most major metropolitan areas, housing prices have risen to the point only the wealthy can afford nearby housing, forcing everyone else to commute many miles to cheaper housing.
As more and more wealthy people move back to cities, the housing problems will accelerate.
High speed rail solves this serious problem by providing access to a wider housing market, making it feasible to live in second tier cities and commute by high speed rail. By opening up so many new housing options in a region, the pressure is taken off the high price “hot spots” by leveling out pricing at the regional scale.
High speed rail also spurs the development of additional rail systems such as local light rail, streetcars, etc. all of which open up additional possibilities for affordable living to a wider segment of the population. Getting rid of one of all cars makes living far more affordable. Having access to high quality rail systems makes it easy to live without a car, or with less cars per household, saving all the expense of car ownership.
America faces the twin problem of urban disinvestment and suburban sprawl – opposite sides of the same misdirected growth problem. Luckily the urban revitalization movement is well underway in city after city!
Sprawl is still a huge problem in America with around 70% of the population living there, which requires endless driving to fulfill your daily needs, creating epic congestion and a huge carbon footprint.
High speed rail redirects regional land development patterns into TOD format – compact, walkable, mixed-use focused around rail stations. Because high speed rail spurs additional rail systems to be built as feeder and distribution networks, additional land development patterns are redirected into compact forms.
High speed rail and light rail systems can act to re-densify sprawling regions by focusing more dense development around rail stations. This has the overall effect of converting sprawl into urbanism in nodes at the regional scale.
America faces serious, long-term financial stagnation mainly from a lack of a manufacturing base, and having such an inefficient, oil-intensive transportation system that’s draining our economy in multiple ways.
The only way to reverse the downward trend it to reinvest in our cities, to redevelop our own manufacturing base, get America off oil, and into an efficient transportation system, nationwide.
High speed rail has the power to attract major real estate development around its stations, while also creating whole new industries with a lot of manufacturing needs. The construction of a national high speed rail network will stimulate the steel industry, construction, concrete, metals, electronics, and all sorts of new areas. High speed rail will launch a nationwide construction boom, followed by a new travel boom that will live on for decades. High speed rail also stimulates new business relationships and access, while offering a super efficient way to do business regionally and nationally.
America has lost it’s manufacturing base and lead in the world after years of exporting jobs to China and other nations. The results have been devastating for American jobs, communities, and the nation’s standing in the world.
Most of the important products we need to transition the nation to a clean energy future are produced by other nations! Trains, wind turbines, solar panels, bicycles, etc. are mostly produced in other countries, when they should be produced here in America, creating American jobs, sustaining American families and communities. Producing products here in America has a much lower carbon footprint, and stimulates our economy in multiple ways at many levels.
A national high speed rail system will create millions of good paying jobs building the infrastructure and system components, managing the rail systems, and operating the stations and related real estate development.
The system will also create a new national real estate boom, creating millions more jobs in development, construction, and property management, while revitalizing our cities and communities.
This is the best future for America…
Fast. Reliable. Efficient. Green.
The case in favor of high speed rail is as clear as day! High speed rail delivers clear and important solutions to the United States, while no other solution offered up even comes close in solving so many big problems simultaneously. High speed rail is the bargain of the century!
It is our U.S. Congress’ job to properly fund the right kinds of transportation, like the rest of the world leaders have been responsibly doing for decades. America needs to catch up with the world, and soar into the 21st century with the best transportation system possible, rather than our current left-over relic of the 1950s, that is failing us at every turn, and getting worse.
21st Century Transportation for America
US High Speed Rail Association

Washington, DC

202.248.5001 | |