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Will High-Speed Rail Corridor Rankings Mean More Trains In Your City?

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Seats on a trainA new report has ranked which cities would benefit most from a high-speed rail corridor.

The report, issued by America 2050, judged the potential corridors on six factors: expected demand for riders, distance between the cities, potential for connections to local transit networks, economic productivity of the cities, how bad the highway congestion is in the cities to be linked, and whether the cities are part of a “mega-region.”

With fierce competition for the high-speed rail stimulus funds, will the report convince the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) to build a corridor in your city?

The study analyzed 27,000 potential city pairs and generated rankings based on their average score on the six grading factors.

Cities in the Northeast ranked highest with a New York-Washington, D.C. link topping the list. Next was California, with corridors between San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco scoring very high. Midwest links between St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit, as well as a Dallas-Houston connection rounded out the top 15.

The FRA is currently reviewing applications for projects vying for the $8 billion in stimulus funds allocated to the development of high-speed rail by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Learn more with President Obama’s Stimulus Efforts for the American Rail System. Or visit our Train Travel section.

America 2050 co-chair Robert Yaro hopes that the FRA will resist the pressure to spread the funding around to many as many districts as possible and instead focus it on building successful networks in the Northeast, Midwest and California.

Train wheelsThe report was written by members of America 2050, a national initiative overseen by the National Committee for America 2050, a coalition dedicated to meeting America’s infrastructure, economic development and environmental challenges of our fast-growing population.

One major focus of America 2050 is the emergence of large metropolitan networks it calls “mega-regions,” such as the stretch from Boston to Washington, or Los Angeles to Tijuana, Mexico.

These networks are connected by business travel and linked economies, among other things. The initiative has pointed to Europe and Southeast Asia as models, where governments are investing billions in high-speed rail to connect networks of cities.

Even if America 2050 does not get the kind of investment it is looking for, one goal is to provide the FRA some statistics worth examining while it mulls over its funding decisions.

To see the complete report, visit www.america2050.org.

By Dan Bence for PeterGreenberg.com.

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