US Mayors’ study looks at economic impact of high-speed rail

According to a study released Tuesday high-speed rail could be a major stimulant to the regional economies where hubs are planned. In addition to the nearly $20 billion in increased annual revenues, CO2 emissions could be reduced by 2.8 million tons a year, the US Conference of Mayors indicated.

In the report titled “The Economic Impacts of High-Speed Rail on Cities and their Metropolitan Areas”, the US Conference of Mayors said cities would benefit greatly by the introduction of high-speed rail service. Four cities were studied from the four corners of the US including Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando and the Albany region of New York. According to the report, service in these areas could mean $19 billion in increased annual revenues to the local economies, along with 145,000 or more jobs.

“Transportation is the backbone of America’s economy,” Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the Mayor’s group said in a statement introducing the report. “The United States cannot successfully compete in the global economy if we fail to invest adequately in our domestic transportation infrastructure – particularly in cities and metropolitan areas…”

This study was conducted by the Boston-based institute Economic Development Research Group (EDR), and underwritten by Siemans. It examined the impact of proposed projects in the four cities, having received funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Obama administration has already invested around $8 billion, the report said.

According to the EDR study, as many as 55,000 new jobs could be created in Greater Los Angeles and bring additional annual revenues of up to $7.6 billion. The City of Chicago would benefit from about 42,000 more jobs and as much as $6.1 billion in new business. In Orlando, the study foresees the creation of up to 27,500 new jobs and $2.9 billion in revenue. And Albany can look forward to giving work to as many as 21,000 people and taking in up to $2.5 billion in additional annual revenue.

“High speed rail is the most efficient and eco-friendly way to strengthen the economic power of these US regions,” Siemens’ Mobility CEO Hans-Jörg Grundmann, said in a statement.

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