Transportation Engineer Al Engel says the U.S. needs high-speed rail service to accommodate an estimated population growth of 100 million over the next 40 years. He says the nation has ten mega-regions with enough population density to support high-speed rail, and we’re in the middle of the biggest one.
“The Philadelphia Corridor is the largest mega-region, with 50 million people today if you look at the population from Boston to Washington, but in order to maintain mobility for 100 million more people, how do you do that? You can’t really build highways to attain that mobility. With two tracks of high-speed rail you can basically attain the same mobility that an eight-lane highway would achieve, which would take three times the land.”
Engel says the interstate highway system is great, but the more it gets built up the more traffic it attracts, and it cannot be expanded fast enough to keep up with the population growth. He says high-speed rail in five of the ten mega-regions would cost $500 billion or more over the next 30 to 40 years, with some of the money coming from the private sector. He’s a vice president working out of the Philadelphia office of AECOM, a worldwide engineering company that specializes in transportation projects, and he appeared Wednesday on the WNPV talk program Legally Speaking.