APTA recently released a report detailing the enormous impact high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects will have in driving job development across America while also rebuilding the nation’s manufacturing sector and generating billions of dollars in business sales. The report, The Case for Business Investment in High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail, focuses on key issues critical to private investors as they consider investments or future expansion into businesses serving the growing passenger rail markets.
The report reinforces the fact that investments in high-speed and intercity rail will lead to many direct and indirect benefits. For each $1 billion invested in high-speed rail projects, the analysis predicts the support and creation of 24,000 jobs. Nationally, proposed federal investment in high-speed rail over a six-year period could result in the support and creation of more than 1.3 million jobs and would serve as the catalyst for attracting state, local, and private capital, which will result in the support and creation of even more jobs.
According to the report, which was sponsored by the Business Member Board of Governors, investments in building a 21st -century rail system will lead not only to a large increase in construction jobs, but also to the sustainable, long-term growth of new manufacturing and service jobs across the country.
“It is evident that investing in high-speed and intercity rail projects presents one of the clearest and fastest ways to create green American jobs and spur long-term economic growth,” said APTA President William Millar in a conference call with the press and several APTA members on April 6.
Other participants in the media call were Jeffrey Wharton, president of IMPulse NC; Charles Wochele, vice president for industry and government relations at Alstom Transport; and Kevin McFall, senior vice president at Stacy and Witbeck Inc., a leading public transit construction firm.
“Investing in high-speed rail is essential for America as we work to build a sustainable, modern transportation system that meets the environmental and energy challenges of the future,” Millar added.
In addition to thousands of new construction jobs, investments in high-speed rail will jumpstart the U.S. economy. The Economic Development Research Group for the U.S. Conference of Mayors studied the business impact of high-speed rail investment in different urban regions. It found that in Los Angeles, for example, high-speed rail investment generates $7.6 billion in business sales, and in Chicago, $6.1 billion.
Wharton said: “U.S. businesses have been known for their cutting-edge technologies and innovations. We need to put this expertise to work, providing business and employment opportunities while catching up with the rest of the world in high-speed rail and its associated benefits.” Wharton added that America’s transportation systems are the “backbone” of the U.S. economy.
Wochele said: “We are excited about the prospect of putting Americans to work building the rail tracks and equipment that will keep America’s economic recovery moving forward. We look forward to partnering with the federal and state governments to ensure these projects get off the ground.”
“Federal high-speed rail investment is a strong driver in getting private companies to invest,” said McFall. “This program can be a shot in the arm for the manufacturing industry. These high-speed rail projects will give us the opportunity to put people to work building the rail infrastructure this country desperately needs.”
High-speed rail, he said, “is crucial to breaking the U.S. economy out of its employment slump. It’s an opportunity to put people to work building infrastructure that people need.”
The report is available here.