APTA Publishes Legislative Proposal for a Federal High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program

In a report approved in late 2013 and published in 2014, APTA calls for reauthorization of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) through stand-alone legislation or as a separate rail title to surface transportation authorization. The legislation should authorize no less than $50 billion during the next six years to facilitate the development of a HSIPR System that would be part of a balanced, multimodal, and interconnected national transportation system that would enable America’s air, rail, bus, ferry, and highway systems each to function effectively and efficiently.

In order to provide a balanced national transportation policy, the current intercity passenger rail network must be improved, including the development, where appropriate, of High-Speed Passenger Rail Corridors. Federal legislation is needed to implement a funding policy that clearly states the intent to integrate and connect high-speed and intercity passenger rail (HSIPR) corridors across the United States with the existing Amtrak network, and with commuter rail and transit operations, wherever possible, to create a national passenger rail network.

Federal policy should speak to the national benefits of a robust, integrated high performance HSIPR system that would:

  • Establish the importance of a HSIPR system in meeting the critical mobility needs of Americans by adding needed capacity to our transportation network, and in so doing provide new travel options and promote economic development;
  • Present the relationship between transportation policies and overarching national priorities, including energy, environment, and economic goals;
  • Identify the opportunity to generate hundreds of thousands of new American jobs and nurture the growth of existing domestic businesses and new domestic businesses in America’s 21st-century economy, as well as to create many additional jobs as a result of economic development created around HSIPR stations and between U.S. economic centers; and
  • Connect America’s economic hubs to each other and to rural America.

Taken together, this document represents a new, forward-looking vision for 21st-century transportation enabling choice, mobility options, modal connectivity, and sustained economic growth.