October 1, 2014

Will U.S. railroad service ever get better?

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“I just returned from a trip to Europe, and really enjoyed riding the high-speed Eurostar and TGV. Why can’t we have something like that here in the U.S.?” So asked a reader, and the fundamental answer is simple: The United States, as a nation, does not and will not enjoy a robust passenger rail system [...]

House votes against California high speed rail

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans this week are trying to drive another spike, or two, into the heart of California’s high-speed rail program. Daring a presidential veto, GOP lawmakers are deploying a Fiscal 2015 transportation funding bill to effectively block the federal Surface Transportation Board from issuing new permits for the California project. Hammering home the [...]

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

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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

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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

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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 [...]