Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced the “American High-Speed Rail Act,” which would provide $41 billion grant funding administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for high-speed projects as well as offering incentives for $38 billion in non-federal funding.
Chris Teale reports on the proposed legislation for Smart Cities Dive, noting some of the key features of the bill. For instance, “It would prioritize grants for regions not served by airlines, or which have government-subsidized routes, and develop safety standards and regulations.”
The news of the bill comes amidst a wild new political context for the cause of high-speed rail, thanks to the positive comments on the concept from newly appointed Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has been seen on Twitter amplifying a recent article about support for high-speed rail among Generation Z.
Gen Z is dreaming big. It’s time we all did the same.https://t.co/UqEpjsZ1Lv
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) March 12, 2021
Still, high-speed rail is far from a solid bet in the U.S. transportation milieu. Projects in Florida and Texas are still facing hurdles, even as the proceed. The most beleaguered high-speed rail project of all, in California, is still trying to achieve a long-term path forward even as it builds the first leg of the system in the state’s Central Valley.