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High Speed Rail Overview

“Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination. Imagine what a great project that would be to rebuild America.” – President Obama, April 16, 2009

Vision for a National Network of High Speed Rail

On April 16, 2009, President Obama, together with Vice President Biden and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, announced a new vision for developing high-speed intercity passenger rail in America, calling for a collaborative effort by the federal government, states, railroads, and other key stakeholders to help transform America’s transportation system through the creation of a national network of high-speed rail corridors. To achieve this vision, FRA published the High-Speed Rail Strategic Plan in April 2009 and launched the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program in June 2009.

To realize President Obama’s vision of giving 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail within the next 25 years, Congress made $8 billion available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Congress continued to build upon the Recovery Act by making available an additional $2.1 billion through annual appropriations for FY 2009 and 2010, using the framework initially established by the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA), bringing the total program funding to $10.1 billion.


Benefits of High Speed Rail

Implementing these corridor projects and programs will:

  • Serve as a catalyst for growth in regional economic productivity and expansion by stimulating domestic manufacturing, promoting local tourism, and driving commercial and residential development
  • Increase mobility by creating new choices for travelers in addition to flying or driving
  • Reduce national dependence on oil
  • Foster livable urban and rural communities


High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program

The High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program was created to help address the nation’s transportation challenges by making strategic investments in an efficient network of passenger rail corridors that connect communities across the country.


  1. Build new high-speed rail corridors that expand and fundamentally improve passenger transportation in the geographic regions they serve;
  2. Upgrade existing intercity passenger rail corridors to improve reliability, speed, and frequency of existing services; and
  3. Lay the groundwork for future high-speed rail services through corridor and state planning efforts. 
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