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American Public Transportation Association

 High-Speed and Intercity Rail

APTA is home to the legacy members of the former High-Speed Ground Transportation Association (HSGTA) and the leading proponents and developers of high-speed passenger rail systems in the United States. In 2006, HSGTA elected to merge with the American Public Transportation Association, combining their expertise and reputation of HSGTA with the resources and legislative capacity of APTA to realize the

News Updates



Legislative Information


Videos from the High-speed Rail Policy Forum:

December 2, 2016
Washington, DC

Why High-Speed Rail: Benefits of High-Speed Rail for the United States

Implementing high-speed rail (HSR) will provide Americans with more transportation choices. It will also make sure that America remains an economic engine, and meets the environmental and energy challenges of this century.

Investing in high-speed rail:  

  • Creates Jobs:
    Building high-speed rail will create hundreds of thousands of jobs.  Every $1 billion in investment creates 24,000 jobs. These are highly skilled jobs that will revitalize the domestic rail industries supplying transportation products and services. Many additional jobs are created through the commerce fostered through the economic activity and development which they spark. 
  • Increases Economic Activity:
    Every $1 invested creates $4 in economic benefits. Upgrading passenger operations on newly revitalized tracks, bridges and rights of way is spurring business productivity along corridors.  The rail services will connect America’s economically vital mega-regions and help keep them mobile, productive, efficient and internationally competitive.
  • Reduces Congestion and Boosts Productivity:  
    Congestion on our nation’s roads costs $140 billion in lost time and productivity.  The U.S. population is projected to grow by another 100 million people in the next 40 years. The population growth is creating mega-regions that will not prosper unless they can be freed from the stranglehold of highway and airport congestion. At the same time, the United States cannot build enough highway capacity or airport runways to meet demand.
  • Increases Energy Efficiency:   
    According to the International Association of Railways (UIC), high-speed rail is eight times more energy efficient than airplanes and four times more efficient than automobile use. It will also decrease greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.  
  • Expands Travel Choices and Improves Mobility:
    High-speed rail can deliver people from one downtown to another as fast as or faster than air travel.  The addition of HSR as an integrated part of America’s transportation system will help airports work better and highways work better. It will also expand options for citizens in rural and small urban communities with increased transfer points and feeder services that connect with new HSR corridors.

FRA Corridors Potentially Ready for Capital Investment FY2015 to FY2019


(Click on the map to enlarge)


Policy Research

  • 2015 APTA High-Speed Train Survey 
    September 2015

    In a survey conducted by TechnoMetrica for APTA, two-thirds (63 percent) of Americans are likely to use high-speed trains if high-speed rail were available today. This jumps to nearly seventy (67) percent when respondents were informed of the costs and time saving benefits of high-speed rail service. Accompanying infographic
  • Opportunity Cost of Inaction: High-Speed Rail and High Performance Passenger Rail in the United States
    July 2012
    This paper addresses the initial investment and on-going cost of operation and maintenance of high-performance passenger rail (HPPR) in four of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) sanctioned HPPR regional networks – Northeast, Chicago Hub, California, and Northwest – over a 40 year period. The system can generate a net benefit of at least $660 million annually. If the nation should forgo this opportunity, it stands to sustain a cost of at least $26.4 billion in foregone economic benefits over the next four decades.
  • High-Speed Rail: On the Move in America
    July 2012
    High-speed rail is critical to America’s economic future. Congestion on our highways and runways already costs $130 billion a year, and our population is expected to grow by another 100 million people in the next 40 years. That is the key rationale behind the Obama Administration’s more than $10 billion investment in high-speed and passenger rail projects across the country.
  • APTA High-Speed Train Survey
    May 2012
    The results of a national survey that show that nearly two-thirds of Americans are interested in traveling by high-speed rail and the figure soars to 74 percent among those in the 18-24 age brackets.
  • An Inventory of the Criticisms of High-Speed Rail
    Released January 2012
    This report is the summary of extensive research that examined the criticism that has been leveled over the past three years at the national efforts to improve intercity passenger rail and introduce true high-speed passenger rail in the United States.  The report defines eight broad categories of criticism of high-speed rail and offers several counterarguments to each.
  • High-Speed Rail Investment Background Data
    Definitions of categories of high-speed rail are presented with a history of federal laws supporting high-speed rail.  Historical and projected growth trends of passenger trips, vehicles, and agencies for all types passenger rail are calculated.  High-speed rail policy, plan, and need statements from APTA and other organizations are described.  Summaries of research detailing high-speed rail land use impact, energy use and emissions reduction, and economic benefits are presented.

FRA Resources


Federal Government
National and International Organizations
Regional Organizations



Committee Chair
Peter Gertler, AICP
telephone: (510) 851-4007

Staff Advisor
Art Guzzetti
telephone: (202) 496-4814



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