April 20, 2014

SMART supports California high speed rail program

The International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers announces support for California Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal to authorize funding for the state’s high-speed rail program, utilizing $300 million of cap and trade revenue. This investment includes upgrades to commuter and intercity rail systems that improve connectivity and modernize transportation between regions [...]

The future of trains is near

high_speed_rail_1

It may seem improbable, but the odds that faster trains are coming to the Northeast Corridor have jumped recently. That’s because beginning in 2015, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is expected to finally permit modern European designs on tracks throughout the country, running side by side with heavy freight, at all times of day. This [...]

Obama budget seeks $40B for passenger rail

The Obama Administration yesterday released its budget request for fiscal year 2014 and the President has once again put forth a plan for transforming and expanding train service in the United States. The president is requesting $40 billion in passenger rail investment over the next five years, allocating $6.6 billion to the Federal Rail Administration [...]

Rail passenger groups seeks federal aid

The National Association of Railroad Passengers, the U.S. High Speed Rail Association, Californians for High Speed Rail, and the Midwest High Speed Rail Association are urging Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to support XpressWest’s creation of a Los Angeles to Las Vegas high-speed rail line. XpressWest currently has loan application pending with the Federal Railroad [...]

Szabo: Rail investment spurs manufacturers

The following message was sent to the UTU National Legislative Office from Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo: In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama spoke about the importance of investing in our infrastructure as a path to create new jobs and lay a foundation for America’s economic success. In the last [...]

High-speed rail in Calif., Northeast moving forward

High-speed rail has been given an energy-boosting vitamin B-12 shot by the California legislature and Amtrak for separate projects on the West and East Coasts. In California, the legislature agreed to spend $6 billion to build the first 130-mile leg of a 520-mile high-speed line – with an estimated cost of some $68 billion — that eventually [...]

Passenger rail essential as population grows

joe_szabo_fra

By Joe Szabo – Federal Railroad Administrator It seems like just yesterday, as UTU Illinois state legislative director and mayor of Riverdale, Ill., that I joined other mayors to successfully advocate for more frequent rail service from Chicago to downstate Illinois communities.  At the time, even that modest goal seemed daunting, as conventional wisdom said Americans [...]

Toward 150-mph Midwest rail passenger service

Menges_Ken_2008

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – UTU Missouri State Legislative Director Ken Menges is halfway toward a goal of creating a public rail commission to study means of expanding and financing improved multi-modal passenger transportation in his state and throughout the Midwest, with an emphasis on creating a track network capable of supporting 150-mph rail passenger service. In [...]

Patience, persistence will ensure HSR

capitol

In 2008, California voters authorized a $9.95 billion bond measure as a down-payment for a high-speed rail project linking the Sacramento (in northern California), the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles. The projected $98 billion route subsequently won $3.3 billion in federal grants.  But with California in the midst of a severe budget shortfall, [...]

Door reopened slightly on high-speed rail funding

Amtrak Logo

WASHINGTON – Just when federal funding for high-speed rail appeared dead as a rusted rail spike, Senate Democratic Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois exercised his clout and reopened the door – if only slightly. On Sept. 20, the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee voted to zero-out all federal funds for high-speed rail. Coming on the heels [...]