High-Speed Rail: Experience the Benefits
Minimal Environmental Impact
High speed rail uses natural resources more efficiently and reduces our carbon footprint.
Reduced Petroleum Use.
High speed passenger trains will reduce our use of and dependence on petroleum.
- The United States imports 57% of its petroleum; 71% of all petroleum usage in the United States is for transportation purposes. Not only is it costly to import more than half of our nation's needed petroleum, but it also exposes the nation to significant risk: if imports fail us, our nation stops moving.
- Improving existing train tracks to handle passenger trains at speeds up to 110 mph would result in energy usage of approximately one gallon of gasoline per 720 person-miles.
Reduced Land Use.
The proposed 110 mph high speed rail requires less land than alternative modes of transportation.
- Enhanced Use of Existing Rights of Way. Using existing rail lines and rights-of-way means that upgrading to high speed rail requires the procurement of very little additional land that is not already used by railroad companies-unlike airport and highway expansion projects.
- Less Need for New or Expanded Highways. Using existing rail lines means that there is less pressure to build new roads or expand existing ones, reducing the need to bulldoze neighborhoods or cut new swaths through nature.
Reduced Urban Sprawl.
According to the National Rail Plan Progress Report:
By connecting city centers with convenient rail links, center city accessibility is leveraged exponentially, permitting residents of one city to easily enjoy the opportunities of neighboring cities without the need for automobile or air travel, which may be inconvenient for moderate distance trips between city centers. Moreover, the rail mode is often more environmentally friendly. Intercity rail can also work synergistically with transit by encouraging more people to use transit to get to rail stations. The result will be better use of transit services, which will stimulate growth of development more attuned with livable communities not relying on auto access.
Support for High Speed Rail.
The Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago also stands behind high speed rail. In an article on their website, they highlight high speed rail as being an energy-efficient, convenient, and cost-effective transportation option that offers the added benefit of promoting economic growth by stimulating the manufacturing sector, creating rail-centric new jobs, and better connecting existing markets.