U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

Federal Railroad Administrator Szabo Highlights Importance of Local Planning in Passenger Rail Projects

Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo reaffirmed the Obama Administration's commitment to passenger rail, and stressed the need for long-term planning to create market-driven passenger rail corridors while speaking at the Northern Flyer Alliance's Passenger Rail Symposium at Kansas City's Union Station.

With America's population expected to grow by 100 million in the next 40 years, America's economic competiveness in the 21st century will require its highways, airports, railways and public transit systems to work together seamlessly in a way that moves people and goods faster and more efficiently than ever before.

At the symposium, Administrator Szabo spoke about advancements in passenger rail throughout the country and the importance of planning at the state level.

"Progress doesn't happen overnight — it becomes a reality after each state lays a solid foundation through good planning and analysis," Administrator Szabo said. "I am pleased to see the planning work currently taking place in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, proving that strong, long-term planning leads to the creation of a market-driven rail plan that benefits communities throughout the corridor."

With over $10 billion in funding, the FRA and 32 state partners are moving forward with 154 High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program projects, laying the foundation for a 21st century passenger rail network. A total federal investment of $2.5 billion thus far has allowed the Midwest region to see significant improvements in reliability, trip times and station development over the last three years.

The symposium was held to create a venue for public officials, business owners, community leaders, and other stakeholders from Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to discuss why the expansion of passenger rail is the most fiscally sound approach to the region's transportation issues.