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.”
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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