Facts and Figures

High-speed rail is an investment that will provide significant benefits- including jobs, economic growth, more efficient modes of transportation and increased national security.  Believe it or not, investing in high-speed rail is actually a return to our American past, when we regularly had trains running at 100 mph and higher.  These trains helped lead to the growth of cities including Buffalo, Chicago, Dever and Los Angeles.  Since then, passenger rail has been in decline- with speeds being reduced to well under 100 mph, and often slower than 65 mph, traveled across most of our nation's highways- making Americans less mobile, and our economy less efficient.

The projects being designed and built today will reconnect our nation from north to south and east to west.  As Americans have increasingly moved to cities, high speed rail will reconnect rural communities with the economic centers of cities, and connect urban dwellers with the American heartland.  

Listed below are just some of the many benefits of a high-speed rail network in the United States. 



Current plans would produce up to 55,000 new jobs and $3 billion new wages in Los Angeles. 

Chicago meanwhile is poised to create 42,000 new jobs and $2.5 billion in new wages from high-speed rail. 

Savings will also be seen in New York State, where 21,000 new jobs and $1.1 billion in new wages are expected from the construction of high-speed rail.

(source: The Economic Impacts of High-Speed Rail on Cities and Their Metropolitan Areas, US Conference of Mayors)



New high-speed rail networks will increase access to more workers with specialized skills, and more access to the economic centers that will provide new employment opportunities for thousands of Americans who couldn't traditionally reach these markets via car. 

In Los Angeles, business trips from Los Angeles to Palmdale, San Diego and even the Central Valley will be made easier with quick, and comfortable rail options- freeing businesses from the clogged highways of I-5.

In the Northeast, high-speed rail network would create a nano-technology and science corridor stretching from Boston to Albany, Syracuse and New York City. This corridor would thrive based around a high-concentration of medical institutions, research centers and universitites that stretch from Rochester, Syracuse, Amherest, Worceter and Boston. 

in the Midwest, clean energy technologies, R&D centers and biotechnology firms will be connected from Chicago to Madison, Detroit and Cleveland- brining back to life a region with the people and skills to manufacture the wind mills, solar panels and gas-efficient cars of the future.

Finally, Southern California is home to a cluster of national defense technology firms, military contractors and military bases that will all benefit from a quicker and easier travel across the region.

(source: The Economic Impacts of High-Speed Rail on Cities and Their Metropolitan Areas, US Conference of Mayors)


Profitable Investment

According to the nonpartisan Pew Charitable Trusts’ SubsidyScopes program, between 2000 and 2009, passenger rail received a total direct expenditure subsidy (public expenditure minus revenue, like ticket sales, concessions, advertising, etc.) of $2.4 billion. During the same period, highways received a total direct expenditure subsidy (public expenditure minus revenue like gas taxes, tolls, taxes on tires, etc.) of $360 billion.

Investing in high-speed rail lines is a large initial investment that is paid off over time.  For evidence, one can look internationally, where the TGV Paris-Lyons line (which is close to 30 years old) and the Shinkansen trunk line (which is close to 60 years old) are both profitable lines that have earned back all the money initially invested in the line. Many of the younger train lines around the world, run an operating profit and are on track to pay off their full investment in time.