High Speed Rail has its day on ‘The Hill’
July 11, 2012
In collaboration with the International Union of Railways (UIC), the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) hosted The High-Speed Rail “Washington Day” which is a preview event a day before the UIC’s 8th World Congress on High Speed Rail (UIC HIGHSPEED 2012), held biannually this event attracts attendees from around the world to exchange views on the development and achievements of high-speed rail worldwide.
This body of international rail aficionados gathered in Washington D.C., this week to discuss the future of high-speed rail in the United States. Rail Executives from Japan, France, Russia, and Italy spoke of their respective systems and the accomplishments they each have had. The European and Japanese rail systems are famous for their impeccable safety records, low carbon emission, and speeds of up to 250 mph. These executives with their years or knowledge and expertise assured the United States from their experience that a high-speed rail network would only benefit the U.S. economy rather than cripple it, which many opponents of High Speed Rail claim will happen.
Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways, RZD spoke of the dangers of waiting to upgrade the nation’s rails to include High Speed Corridors. Russia used to be a leader in rail travel, however the former Soviet government felt that its citizens did not need such technology, and stopped funding rail related programs. Decades passed, and the Russians fell behind the rest of the world and now they are playing catch up with Western Europe and Japan. Yakunin warned the United States that the cost to upgrade a rail network is high, but the cost to waiting is greater.
With the development of the National Rail Plan and government funds awarded to high speed rail projects, America is poised to take significant steps toward transforming our transportation network, so the World Congress comes to the U.S. at a pivotal time. (APTA)