High Speed Trains Get Congressional Caucus

This month two Senators and six Congress members announced the formation of the Bi-Cameral High-Speed Rail Caucus, a coalition that will seek to advance high-speed and intercity rail projects across the United States. The eight member group consists entirely of Democrats, and includes Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ) and Dick Durbin (IL) along with Congress members Louise Slaughter (NY), Corrine Brown (FL), David Price (NC), Zoe Lofgren (CA), Tim Walz (MN), and John Olver (MA).

Each of the founding co-chairs represents a district with a major high-speed rail corridor that, if completed, could create a national network of trains. In President Obama’s State of the Union Address he called for 80% of Americans to have access to high-speed trains in the next twenty five years, which some reports suggest will cost over $50 billion in the next six years alone.

Image via the Office of David Price

Coalition members argue that the funding of high-speed trains will create thousands of jobs and reap billions in economic benefits, an estimated $1 billion in New York plus $23 billion in the Midwest. GOP members, however, say the federal government needs to cut spending, and as we recently reported are trying to slash the 2011 budget for high-speed initiatives by almost 50%.

Earlier this month, we also reported that Florida, a state that once had $2.4 billion in federal funds for a rail program, lost the opportunity for the development due to Governor Rick Scott’s refusal of the incentives. There are several reports and opinions on the implementation of a high speed rail system in America, and to help boil down some of that data we’ve created a handy article on the issue that features links to various reports.

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Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.