News Release


Brian Imus,
Illinois PIRG

Experience Shows High-Speed Rail Can Boost Economy, Reduce Traffic

For Immediate Release

Drawing lessons from other countries, a new study from Illinois PIRG shows that high-speed rail can boost our economy, save energy, curb pollution and provide a popular alternative to congested roads and airports.

The report, A Track Record of Success: High-Speed Rail Around the World and Its Promise for America, details a number of examples from around the world that make a variety of cases for high-speed rail. Some of the benefits include:

    * Jobs: about 8,000 people were involved in the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link between the tunnel and London.

    * Development opportunities near stations: the amount of office space in the area around the rail station in the city of Lyon, France has increased by 43%.

    * Economic growth: in Germany, the counties surrounding the towns of Limburg and Montabauer experienced a 2.7% increase in their gross domestic product as a result of the increased access to markets provided by the Frankfurt-Cologne high-speed rail line.

    * Reduced road congestion: high-speed rail service between Madrid and Seville reduced the share of car travel between the two cities from 60% to 34%.

    * Reduced air travel: even in the relatively slow rail service in the U.S. Northeastern Corridor, the rail corridor accounts for 65% of the air-rail market between NY and Washington, DC.

    * Reduced oil dependence: a typical Monday morning business trip between London and Paris via high-speed rail uses approximately a third less energy as a car or plane trip.

“This report reinforces our view that building a high-speed rail network is a prudent and cost effective use of America’s resources over the long-term,” said Glen Bottoms of the American Conservative Center for Public Transportation.

As the Midwest network’s hub, Illinois would have better access to rail than any other state. Nearly 70% of jobs in Illinois would be located within 15 miles of a high speed rail station. In Illinois, high-speed rail has picked up steam behind major grants from the federal government. In January, Illinois received $1.1 billion to upgrade service on the Dwight to Alton section of the Chicago to St. Louis line to provide 110 mph service, and last month the state received another $3.7 million to replace two railway bridges on Amtrak’s Chicago to Milwaukee corridor.

“Now that the election is behind us, it’s time to get serious about high-speed rail. There is no such thing as a Republican or a Democratic rail track,” said Emily Mueller, Illinois PIRG Field Organizer, “Our leaders from both parties should support long-term investment in high-speed rail for the benefits it will bring to Illinois.”

Support Us

Your donation supports Illinois PIRG’s work to stand up for consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.

Consumer Alerts

Join our network and stay up to date on our campaigns, get important consumer updates and take action on critical issues.
Optional Member Code

Illinois PIRG is part of The Public Interest Network, which operates and supports organizations committed to a shared vision of a better world and a strategic approach to social change.