America 2050 Update: June 28, 2011

  • ACTION ALERT: Protect Funding for High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Projects from Rescission Amendments
  • House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Plan to Privatize the Northeast Corridor Fails to Offer a Viable Solution
  • "Life at the Speed of Rail," An Ongoing Project of the Van Alen Institute Announces Winning Design Ideas and Upcoming Events
  • America 2050 Leads a Discussion on How the Knowledge Corridor Region Must Plan for Dependable Rail in 2016

ACTION ALERT: Protect Funding for High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Projects from Rescission Amendments

Even as passenger rail projects are creating new jobs and generating economic growth across the country, these successful programs are under attack. Members of Congress are threatening not only to deny adequate funding for Amtrak and high-speed rail in the next budget, but to take back funding that has already been awarded for the President's high-speed rail program. We need your help to protect these important investments in America's future.

Please call or write your elected officials and ask them to fund the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail program at $2.5 billion to match levels in FY 2010, to fully fund Amtrak's request of $2.25 billion, and to oppose any rescission of high-speed rail funding. Visit Stand Up for Trainsto find contact information for your representatives and to send them an e-mail message.

Learn more about the legislation threatening passenger rail and read America 2050's response here.


House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Plan to Privatize the Northeast Corridor Fails to Offer a Viable Solution

On June 15th, Chairman John Mica (R-FL) and Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee proposed a bill to privatize the Northeast Corridor and bid it out to private investors under a contract to design, build, and operate a new high-speed rail system. The bill would also open up all of the nation's state-sponsored and long distance passenger rail corridors currently operated by Amtrak to private competition, turning over Amtrak's rolling stock and reservation systems to the highest bidder.

While America 2050 shares the goal of achieving world class high-speed rail service in the Northeast Corridor and improving passenger rail service throughout the nation, this bill is seriously flawed in its current form. Without significant public investment in capital costs and maintenance along our most heavily trafficked corridors, and operating subsidies along the less-used long-distance routes, any attempt to privatize these passenger rail lines is unworkable.

Read America 2050's full analysis here.

Download a copy of the legislation here.

Read America 2050 Co-Chair Robert Yaro's comments on the legislation here.


"Life at the Speed of Rail," An Ongoing Project of the Van Alen Institute, Winning Design Ideas and Upcoming Events

Last March, the Van Alen Institute issued a call for design ideas to envision the cultural, environmental, and economic impact of a new rail network on communities across the country. On June 24, ten winners were selected, with design ideas imagining trains doing everything from promoting physical fitness to regenerating wetlands and protecting water quality.

Check out all the winning entries and honorable mentions at the Winners Gallery

America 2050's Petra Todorovich is on the Advisory Committee for the Life at the Speed of Rail Competition. The Committee will curate materials from the exhibit to create an image library as a resource to better illustrate infrastructure needs and possibilities. Ideas and proposals from the competition will be discussed and refined in a series of panel discussions throughout the summer, listed below.

June 24 - Washington, DC: BETTER TRANSPORTATION BY DESIGNat the National Building Museum, 12:30pm

June 28 - St. Louis: LAYING TRACKS FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTat the Museum of Contemporary Art, 7:00pm

July 7 - Houston: RED STATE RAILat the Baker Institute, 6:00pm

July 12 - Los Angeles: AFTER CAR CULTURE: DESIGNING THE NEW LAat Caltrans Headquarters, 4:00pm


America 2050 Leads a Discussion on How the Knowledge Corridor Region Must Plan for Dependable Rail in 2016

On Thursday, June 2nd and Friday, June 3rd, America 2050 brought together 90 people in Hartford, Connecticut to learn about the state's plan to improve rail service in the Knowledge Corridor region, by connecting New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield, Massachusetts with trains every half hour during rush hour and every hour at non-peak times. The event sought to identify strategies that the region must implement in order to maximize the rail's economic impact. The group heard from experts about successful efforts to improve passenger rail service in other corridors, and brain-stormed strategies for the region to leverage the public investment in transportation to generate a dynamic local economy.

See America 2050's coverage of the event for visual aids and audio of presentations.

Read America 2050's Briefing Book to learn more about the planned service improvements and the region.