In the most recent edition of the San Francisco Urban Planning and Research Association's publication, The Urbanist, two articles strengthen the already solid case for high-speed rail in California. The articles were written initially for an America 2050 research seminar sponsored by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Regional Plan Association this spring. Not only can the state afford to fund the project, argues SPUR Regional Planning Director Egon Terplan in "Getting High-Speed Rail On Track," but two of the state's most influential industries - the Hollywood media and entertainment industry and Silicon Valley technology sector - would be knit more tightly than ever before by a high-speed rail system that would realize "the economic potential of enhanced access and exchange across the state," a benefit discussed detailed in Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf's "Hollywood Vs. Silicon Valley."

linc-pfr rail skyscrapers Japan is-16069974.jpg

A much cited essay by the UCLA Anderson Forecast, which concludes that the high-speed rail corridor connecting Tokyo and Osaka did not generate discernible economic benefits to the region it serves, from its opening in 1964 to 1990, is flawed. Based on the findings, the study's authors argue that California's high-speed rail system will not generate the significant economic benefits that the California High Speed Rail Authority's business plan predicts. However, the methodology adopted in the Anderson study is questionable and the comparability of Japan in the 1960s to California in the future is doubtful.

Read Regional Plan Association's critique of Anderson Forecast.

A recent survey conducted by the American Public Transportation Association reveals that a majority of people surveyed would be willing to choose high-speed rail over air or car travel if it were available. These results come at a time when the opportunity to expand mobility in the nation through investing in high-speed rail systems has never been greater, and confirms that many Americans understand the potential benefits and convenience of fast intercity train travel.

On Monday, Amtrak released an updated report on improving the Northeast Corridor that builds on several years of planning work. The report, The Amtrak Vision for the Northeast Corridor (PDF), summarizes Amtrak's plans to upgrade the existing corridor and build a new high-speed rail alignment - concepts that were outlined in two previous reports published by Amtrak in 2010, The Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Master Plan and A Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor. This new, updated report revises and integrates these two plans into a single, comprehensive investment program.

A new report released this week by the American Public Transportation Association entitled, "Opportunity Cost of Inaction: High-Speed Rail and High Performance Passenger Rail Service," addresses just that question: what does the U.S. stand to lose, both in terms of costs incurred and benefits forgone, by not investing in high-speed rail between its largest metropolitan areas? APTA's report concludes that the stakes are indeed high - on the order of tens of billions of dollars.


Watch America 2050 director Petra Todorovich present RPA's report, "Getting Infrastructure Going: Expediting the Environmental Review Process," followed by a panel discussion moderated by Newsweek's Megan McArdle, featuring Will Kempton, Diana Mendes, Dr. Peter Ruane, and Jim Tripp. The event was co-hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, Regional Plan Association, and the Eno Center for Transportation. Video after the jump.

Hot Topics



America 2050


America2050 profile

America2050 Private firm participates in #PassengerRail business: privately financed 100mph train to link Miami and Orlando by 2014 bit.ly/OVwAM4 6 days ago · reply · retweet · favorite

America2050 profile

America2050 110mph trains will start operating between Dwight and Pontiac this fall, as part of the Chicago-St. Louis #HSR #Amtrak bit.ly/QMxxK7 10 days ago · reply · retweet · favorite

America2050 profile

America2050 #HighSpeedRail for Upstate NY picks up speed - NYS will unveil a draft plan this summer showing the cost and benefits bit.ly/MQ45Du 20 days ago · reply · retweet · favorite