U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and other experts are featured in "Economic and Social Impacts of High-Speed Rail Systems," a set of seven videos from a day-long workshop on the future of high-speed and intercity passenger rail. Posted by the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), each video focuses on one of the day's panel discussions.
The workshop was held in January at the Transportation Research Board's (TRB) annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The session opened with a presentation by Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo, who introduced Secretary LaHood for the keynote address.
TRB's Intercity Passenger Rail Committee and the Mineta National Transit Research Consortium (MNTRC) sponsored the workshop, which will included six panel sessions featuring nearly 30 of the world's top experts on high-speed and intercity passenger rail (HSIPR) systems.
Panel discussions covered the current status of high-speed and intercity rail nationally and internationally; the variety of possible public and private funding sources; unique challenges and opportunities; design and operational integration; a discussion of the benefits; and the status of international programs.
In his keynote, Secretary LaHood said that he'd traveled to 15 countries to study their HSR systems and the one common denominator to its success was the government's commitment. He praised President Barack Obama's vision and the work happening in several parts of the country — particularly in California, where he gave special credit to Gov. Jerry Brown, who is committed to the HSR project in his state.
The Secretary also noted the leadership in New York, Connecticut, the Northeast Corridor and the Midwest. In only four years, $12 billion has been invested in 152 places in the U.S., he said, emphasizing that we should not be derailed by governors who have no vision for the future.
The Secretary said that he has encouraged foreign investment in HSR for America. The only stipulation, he said, was they had to hire American workers and build the equipment here — because the program isn't just about mobility; it's about jobs. He predicted that thousands of jobs would be created in every region of the country.
To view the videos, click here.