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Where the UK leads the US

“We need to move fast with major funding for high-speed rail to have an impact. Climate change has quickly become the single-most-important issue we face with disasters showing up all around us, and transportation is the number one cause. We need to go big and build on high-speed rail in the reconciliation framework.”

…”the case for major funding for high speed rail outlining the technology as a major mobility, jobs, climate, and equity solution all at the same time, and because of how many things it solved simultaneously, it needed major funding from ….government.

“My case is simple on high-speed rail. High-speed rail is necessary because transportation is the single biggest emitter for carbon in the US. The only way we can truly make transportation carbon-free — the only technology we really have — is high-speed rail. We can spend a lot of money on electric cars, but it’s not going to fix congestion on our highways. So we’ll have silent traffic jams, folks. True high-speed rail runs off of renewable energy to meet the climate crisis today.”

The above are extracts from speeches by US Congressman Seth Moulton and USHSR CEO Andy Kunz, speaking at a coalition of Congress members including House Transportation Chair Peter DeFazio at a press conference on the lawn in front of the US Capitol Building Washington DC, on July 20th 2021.

It seems that even in the land where the car is king and domestic aviation is on a unique scale, there is a policy turn to high-speed rail. The US looks on in envy at the work we have in hand on HS2. The challenges in the UK – on economic recovery, mobility, jobs (and particularly those in the so called left behind places), climate and equity are the same as those high-speed rail advocates identify in the US.

The policy case for high-speed rail here is the same. Change one letter in the quotes above to make it the UK not US: the same observations hold true.

Greengauge 21

July 2021