WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ — Today, five regional planning agencies throughout the Rocky and Intermountain West formally announced the formation of the Western High Speed Rail Alliance (WHSRA), which will work to support the creation of a high-speed rail system in the Western United States.
“The members of the Western High Speed Rail Alliance share a vision of high-speed rail that provides efficient, cost-effective options for both passenger and freight customers,” said Jacob Snow, chairman for the WHSRA. “We believe implementation of a regional high-speed rail plan for the Rocky and Intermountain West is critical to the development of a national high-speed rail system. Corridors must be studied now to lay the groundwork for additional development.”
Included in the alliance are the following planning agencies: The Denver Regional Council of Governments (the greater Denver area), the Maricopa Association of Governments (the greater Phoenix Area), Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas, Nevada), the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (Reno, Nevada), and the Utah Transit Authority (Salt Lake City, Utah).
The WHSRA is prepared to request $50 million from the reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act that Congress is expected to consider next year.
“Funding these studies is essential for the development of a national high-speed rail plan. We look forward to working with Congress and other lawmakers to assure that these studies are adequately funded,” said Snow.
Included in a national plan The Western High Speed Rail Alliance envisions a Denver to Los Angeles corridor via a high-speed rail network with regional “hubs” in Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver and Phoenix as well as linkages from Denver to Salt Lake City to Reno and ultimately connection to San Francisco, CA.
As an example of the need, a recent study conducted by the Brookings Institution states that McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is one of the busiest short-haul airports in the country, shuttling 3.7 million passengers from Las Vegas to Los Angeles alone in the year ending March 2009.
“Connecting the Western United States with a robust rail network will be a major step towards reducing air traffic and highway congestion, while in turn increasing interstate highway capacity for goods movement and improving air quality by reducing emissions,” concluded Snow.
The WHSRA hopes to add both public and private sector members to their alliance in order to assist in developing future corridors that will be built over the next 20 years.
SOURCE Western High Speed Rail Alliance
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