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The Future of High-Speed Rail in the US: Why the hold up?
The U.S. passenger rail system leaves a lot to be desired, and lags far behind other networks such as those in Europe or Japan. For many of us in the broad CoMotion community, nothing seems more critical than establishing high-speed and long distance rail to lessen carbon emissions, reduce traffic congestion, and generally improve intercity travel. Perhaps it is not such a distant dream after all: there are now points of light across the American rail landscape. For instance, the Federal Rail Administration is currently evaluating the restoration of daily long-distance intercity rail passenger service and the potential for new Amtrak long-distance routes. Brightline - the only privately-owned and operated intercity passenger railroad in the U.S. is currently operating between Miami and West Palm beach, with imminent plans to reach Tampa. Additionally, the U.S. High Speed Rail Association released a plan which promises to “spark the second great railroad revolution” -- as President Joe Biden had promised at the beginning of his presidency -- with a major investment and focus on high-speed rail across America, focusing on 5 high-priority projects. When will these plans actually take shape? Is this really a non-partisan issue?

Melissa Figueroa, Chief of Strategic Communications, California High-Speed Rail Authority
Jim Mathews, President and CEO, National Association of Railroad Passengers
Ali Soule, VP Community Relations, Brightline Trains
Roger Harris, President, Amtrak
Dan Zukowski, Transportation Reporter, Smart Cities Dive (moderator)


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