Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

States expect rail growth

Here is some “feel good.”

Job Creation Is Top Priority

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–With $8 billion in federal stimulus money allocated for passenger rail projects, the States for Passenger Rail Coalition foresees the beginning of a new era of expanded intercity passenger rail service throughout America. The projects will expand and enhance passenger rail service in multiple ways, while creating thousands of new, good-paying jobs across the nation.In addition, President Obama has indicated that another $5 billion can be expected over the next five years, from the administration’s proposed transportation budget.

“The creation of good-paying jobs is a major goal in this national recession,” Frank Busalacchi, coalition chair, said. “Additionally, the public demand for expanded passenger rail service is high, and our goal is to meet that demand as quickly as we can. I applaud Congress and the Obama administration for creating this significant pool of important, new funding.”

The coalition, formed in 2000, has grown to include 31 states and two public authorities. At least 35 states are developing plans for expansion of services or new services.

The projects identified by state coalition members are spread out geographically, bringing a significant number of new jobs to many regions.

The projects will also draw on a wide range of labor categories, and will provide operational and capacity benefits to passenger and freight operations. Proposed projects include:

  • Track improvements, such as double tracking, welded rail and tie replacement to increase capacity and reliability;
  • Sidings to allow fast passenger trains and slower fright trains to pass each other.
  • Universal crossovers to provide capacity for shared-use corridor passenger and freight operations.
  • Grade crossing improvements such as gates and lights.
  • Advanced signal and train control systems to increase safety and operational efficiency of both passenger and freight rail operations.
  • Station improvements.
  • Equipment rehabilitation and acquisition.

“These projects require not only a large number of workers, but call on a wide range of skills,” Chairman Busalacchi said. “They will put people to work, and create significant improvements in passenger and freight operations across America.”

Busalacchi also is secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and was a Congressional appointee to the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Politics, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

7 Responses

  1. […] LaHood’s remarks, Trains for America reports that passenger rail advocates are predicting a revival of intercity service, thanks to stim […]

  2. toast2042 says:

    At this rate, we could have a functional passenger rail system by 2025-2030!

    But seriously, why in the world does it take so long and cost so much to get *anything* done? No wonder highway people look at us askance…

  3. Mike Skehan, Washington says:

    Washington, Oregon and British Columbia began to study and deploy High Speed Rail (HSR) passenger trains through the Cascade Corridor in the mid 90’s. Our Talgo tilt trains, capable of 125 mph, have been running between Eugene Oregon and Vancouver, BC since 1999.

    Using an ‘incremental approach’ to building the system, with limited state and dwindling Amtrak funding for trains, track and signal, and operations, has enabled some pretty impressive achievements — while still being limited to 79 mph by the Feds.

    Ridership continues to grow at double-digit rates each year. More than twice as many passengers now choose rail over planes for the trip between Seattle and Portland. Trains get twice the fuel economy over planes and cars, while producing only half the CO2 emissions.

    All Aboard Washington is excited the needed improvements are now achievable through the stimulus funding for HSR, and applaud our new administration. With modest capital improvements, new train sets could double ridership in years, not decades. Travel times could be slashed by up to 50% through higher speeds and reduced conflicts with current freight traffic, while achieving significant reductions to both fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Truly a win, win, win for America!

    For more information, check out our state adopted HSR plan at:

    And visit our web site at:

  4. thanks for sharing friend 🙂

  5. Walter says:

    I can’t believe in the United States in 2009 something like “welded rail” is considered a major improvement. It’s a staple of a functioning railroad system. Even the Northeast Corridor has had welded rail for decades!

  6. Andrew in NorJpn says:

    (Addressing Walter’s comment about welded rail)-
    Yes, I agree with you. The sad fact is that with the demise of most passenger trains in the 1960’s, many rail lines were downgraded to freight only. There was no incentive to improve track technology. You can also add another improvement to the list (which once existed on many lines): superelevated curves.

  7. Paul says:

    @ Toast 2042-

    It has taken so long because rail has not had a dedicated long term funding source like the highway trust fund. Also, there has been tremendous push-back from the highway and airline lobbyists.

    It costs so much because of environmental studies (most of which came after many highways and airports were built) and other governmental red tape.

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