Today, a dozen prominent figures and leaders of the transportation industry were named to the Advisory Board of the American High Speed Rail Alliance (AHSRA). This diverse group of industry veterans, statesmen and entrepreneurs is chaired by the Honorable Al Swift, former Congressman from Washington State, known as “the father of high speed rail” for his leadership on the Swift Rail Development Act of 1994. His bill was the first to authorize federal funds for corridor planning activities for the establishment of high speed rail service in the United States.
“Advancing intercity passenger rail is an issue that is close to my heart and one that is critically important to our nation’s economic and environmental future,” said former Rep. Al Swift. “I look forward to working with the American High Speed Rail Alliance and the members of the Advisory Board to make higher speed passenger rail a reality in America.”
The newly named members of the Advisory Board will provide guidance to the Alliance on its mission to advocate for the development and implementation of an improved passenger rail network in the United States. The Board will support the Alliance’s policy agenda, participate in strategic planning sessions, maintain a dialogue with stakeholders in the high speed rail industry and help to establish the permanent Governing Board of Directors for the Alliance.
Other members named to the Advisory Board include:
• Chuck Baker, President, National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC)
• Brian Caine, Manager, Business Development, Lockheed Martin Corporation
• Nora Friend, Vice President of Public Affairs, Talgo
• Lewis Goetz, FAIA, FIIDA, President & CEO, Group Goetz Architects
• Nicholas Hann, Executive Director, Macquarie Capital Advisors
• Zach Mottl, Chair, Government Affairs Committee, Tooling and Manufacturing Association (TMA)
• Paul Nowicki, Assistant Vice President, Government and Public Policy, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF)
• David Soule, Executive Director, Railway Engineering-Maintenance Suppliers Association (REMSA)
• Marise Stewart, Director of Government and Industry Relations, Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD)
• George Weber, Chair, Bureau of Railroads, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)
• Jim Wolfe, President & CEO, Knight Infrastructure
“The American High Speed Rail Alliance team is excited to work with the members of the Advisory Board to gain insight from their collective industry experience,” said Mary Ellen Curto, Executive Director of the AHSRA. “The political savvy and business acumen of this group is unparalleled and we look forward to their guidance as we work to advocate for an aggressive policy agenda for high speed rail. As the Advisory Board becomes complete, it will reflect a balanced group of professionals with transportation and rail policy expertise and technical railroading knowledge.”
The American High Speed Rail Alliance supports ensuring sustainable funding sources adequate to build and operate a high speed and regional passenger rail network in the United States. Funding and financing options will include a combination of federal, state and local funding, public/private partnerships, government-backed infrastructure bonds, tax credits, tax incentives and private sector investments. The AHSRA advocates for robust federal investment in building and improving America’s passenger rail network.
Specifically, the Alliance will leverage its resources and relationships to:
• Support the proposed $50 billion authorization for high speed rail in the SAFETEA-LU re-authorization legislation, and work with Congress to identify a dedicated source of funding to appropriate towards this authorization;
• Modify existing federal funding and financing programs such as RRIF, TIFIA, and Build America Bonds to ensure eligibility for high speed rail investments;
• Promote innovative tools that incentivize private sector participation in high speed rail financing including public/private partnerships and the development of a national infrastructure investment bank;
• Support enactment of freight rail investment tax credits that benefit the development of high speed rail;
• Advocate for a $4 billion annual appropriation from the Transportation Appropriations account for high speed rail development;
• Develop a dedicated, and predictable funding source for high speed rail to allow effective long-term planning and develop a sustainable market for high speed rail vendors and service providers;
• Support full funding of Amtrak; and
• Be a partner in industry efforts to sensibly and cost-effectively implement safety regulations, such as Positive Train Control (PTC), while advocating for funding to meet these mandates and transparency in the development of critical technology.
The American High Speed Rail Alliance is a non-profit advocacy organization whose members are dedicated to creating and sustaining a clean and energy-efficient advanced national high speed passenger rail system in the United States. The AHSRA works on behalf of, and in partnership with, its members and other like-minded stakeholders to support policies and execute programs that ensure the creation and operation of a world-class high speed rail system that is interconnected with all passenger transportation systems throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.americanhsra.org.