High Speed Rail A 1.3 Million Jobs Catalyst

A new study out recently from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) suggests kneecapping high speed rail on the federal level might not be the best move at the moment. Why? Because the APTA study suggests the national build out of a 21st century rail system, much like is going on in places like China, could create as many as 1.3 million related jobs.

The APTA is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail, so certainly it has vested interest in seeing high speed rail succeed. The study it funded believes that the multi-billion dollar federal investment, now significantly reduced in scope, “will be the catalyst for attracting state, local and private capital which will result in the support and creation of even more jobs.”

Amtrak Acelo Express at New Haven Union

image via Wikipedia Commons

APTA believes that for each $1 billion invested in high-speed rail projects, it will support and create 24,000 jobs. Part of the job scenario painted by this report includes not only a large increase in construction jobs, but also “the sustainable, long-term growth of new manufacturing and service jobs across the country.”

It was noted by the APTA, in considering how high speed rail might help jump start the domestic economy, that the Economic Development Research Group for the U.S. Conference of Mayors studied the business impact of high-speed rail investment in different urban regions.  For example, in Los Angeles, CA, high-speed rail investment generates $7.6 billion in business sales and $6.1 billion in Chicago, IL.

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.


  • Reply April 14, 2011


    Of course APTA is going to say this, they are a special interest that would benefit from the rail boondoggles. Our density or economy is nothing like China’s who even they are rethinking high speed rail because of the cost and ridership issues. WE CANNOT AFFORD HIGH SPEED RAIL! We can only afford the must do’s not the nice to haves – there is NO MONEY and we do not want more debt!nWe do not need high speed rail projects to create jobs, we know exactly how jobs are created – by keeping taxes low, stop strangling businesses with regulation and let the free markets flourish. Get the Gov’t out of the way and Americans know how to create jobs. Unfortunately, President Obama and most of his advisers have NEVER created any jobs and are clueless to fix the problem. 2012 will not get here soon enough.We also need to stop diverting our gas taxes to transit – support Sen. DeMint and AZ Rep Flake’s bills to empower the states to collect the fed gas taxes instead of sending it to DC to be wasted. Donor states like FL would then get 100% of their contribution instead of 70-80 cents on the dollar they have been getting for decades while their population grew exponentially. Our gas taxes need to go to fix our roads, bridges and highways and not to build bike paths, trails and pedestrian walkways. If Americans want transit, then find a way to pay for it, but not out of gas taxes.

  • Reply April 14, 2011

    The Shrimper

    Of course the APTA would be supporting this as the main special interest beneficiary of such expenditures. The problem with HSR as well as regular passenger rail (whether long haul or commuter), is that operating costs are and have never been sustainable through fares alone….. it must always be subsidized. It may not be what all the greenies want to hear, but it is the truth.

  • Reply April 14, 2011


    Jump start the economy by outsourcing the components to Europe and Asia. Let’s build the components here and create manufacturing jobs!

  • Reply April 14, 2011


    Like typical govt. rational, the justification for the massive expenditure ignores the most relevant issue – PROFIT!!! Sales/revenue means nothing if expenses are higher – for any APTA people reading this, this is called a “loss” and companies that incur “losses” go out of business in the “real” world. I see nothing to suggest that this would be any different than any other venture that the govt. has attempted to pitch as “for-profit” or “self sustaining” (e.g., USPS, Amtrak, etc.). There is a reason that the private sector is staying away from this – if the main justification is simply to create jobs, why not just take the capital that would be wasted on something that American’s don’t want and would never choose to pay for and pay people to sit at home until the money is gone. This would extend the amount of money that goes to “employees” and then they could spend time looking for real jobs. This would also avoid the millions of tax dollars that would be paid out each year going forward in subsidies to support the ongoing operations of Amtrak 2.nnCompletely retarded (I donu2019t mean to insult handicapped persons. However, despite this comment being politically incorrect, itu2019s completely accurate, so I donu2019t apologize for saying it).n

  • Reply April 24, 2011


    Fitnessfreak you are merely repeating Republican talking points. The United States has plenty of money, it just happens to be controlled by a very small extremely greedy minority, who also happen to control the media. They have fooled you and millions others into believing there is no money. The US did not get this way by accident. Beginning with Reagan, the Republicans have been employing a cynical strategy to “Starve The Beast”. They cut taxes, mainly for the rich until the Government is no longer able to provide vital services. We are seeing the results today in the ineffectual oversight of food safety, transportation, the crumbling infrastructure and Wall Street. Our education system which used to be one of the finest in the World has now falling behind. The US is the only developed nation that does not provide medical care for its people as a right. With the proposed cuts in the budget, there will be drastic cuts in social services hurting many of the most vulnerable people in our society.We had better wake up and do something about it before it is too late. nWe need to restore some fairness to the tax system by requiring that the wealthy pay their fair share. When Bill Clinton was president the rich paid 39%. He balanced the budget and handed over a surplus to George W Bush. Eight years later the economy was in tatters as a result of the ruinous Bush tax policies. nThe Bush tax cuts should be allowed to expire. High speed Rail is far from being a boondoggle. This article estimates that building a robust high speed rail infrastructure would create over 1.3 million new jobs. These jobs are desperately needed. Please do not believe the false propaganda being put out by the super rich through their corporate owned media, we are not broke. Look around you at the enormous suffering, the joblessness, foreclosures, life savings lost and the shrinking middle class. Do you want to live in a country where there are only a few super rich, with armies of the homeless poor scavenging through garbage to eke out a living?

  • Reply June 8, 2011


    Is there any form of transportation being used in the United States that isn’t subsidized by the government and our tax dollars? u00a0Our roads are subsidized, our airports, Amtrak, and so on all benefit from government expenditures. u00a0 The businesses that use these systems and the underlying infrastructure benefit from these subsidies. u00a0Democrats benefit. u00a0Republicans benefit. u00a0nTo follow the logic of the anti-tax, anti-spend right wing of the country, we should do away with all forms of transportation subsidies and let the chips fall where they may. u00a0After all, the free markets will flourish and provide these systems for the country … won’t they? u00a0Won’t they???nThere is and always has been a place for government projects. u00a0They do hire private sector employers who do hire private sector employees and do create additional taxpaying citizens. u00a0The bureaucrats within the government don’t actually pick up a pick and shovel and build infrastructure. u00a0They set policy and dole out money to fulfill the policy, in this case high speed rail transit and the million plus jobs it will create. u00a0The self-respect of people with jobs far surpasses the “solution” of JRB that would pay people to stay home. u00a0Fitnessfreak seems conflicted about using taxes for transportation and not using taxes for transportation; of having the government involved and not having the government involved.u00a0

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