The US High Speed Rail Association's conference Dec. 2-4 at MTA's Headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles saw a great turn out to hear from top government officials and many of the world's leading high-speed rail experts. California's new cap and trade program — the nation's first dedicated high-speed rail funding source — is driving tremendous interest in the project and high-speed rail in general.
California High Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales outlined how the project is rapidly accelerating into full construction and with it billions of dollars in construction contracts and jobs to build high-speed rail in America. California is leading the way to bring 21st century transportation to America.
In addition to the excitement surrounding the California project, USHSR launched the new program - USHSR Project Pipeline - The Next 10.
The project pipeline has been set up to advance projects from the early conceptual stage to investment-ready status to attract private investment by:
- Selecting and presenting projects to develop and move forward.
- Highlighting unique project features, assets and potential returns.
- Packaging projects with land assets for profitable real estate development around stations.
- Optimizing station locations for highest ridership and real estate development returns.
- Assembling financiers, investors and development partners to move projects forward.
- Building widespread public, business and political support for the projects.
Projects are currently being selected in regions across America, at various stages of development and a variety of sizes and conditions.
The conference brought together project experts from Texas, Virginia, the Midwest and the Southwest to discuss several high-speed rail projects under development.
Additionally, USHSR's Daniel Krause presented the association's vision to expand New York's Gateway project into a full high-speed rail starter line along the Northeast Corridor between New York City and Philadelphia. This project could jump start the advancement and investment into the busy region. USHSR also held a high-level, private workshop with finance and investment experts to discuss strategies to utilize private investment in funding pipeline projects around the nation.
Other conference sessions included "High Speed Around the World," which covered the latest developments in high speed rail globally by industry representatives from different continents. Agency leaders covered the multitude of rail improvements in the "California Statewide Rail Modernization" session.
"California and Southwest High-Speed Rail" explored the billions of dollars of contracts being awarded in California, the construction schedule, and the many benefits that it will deliver to the people of California and surrounding states.
"Transit-Oriented Development & Real Estate Opportunities" explored mixed-use real estate potential around rail stations, while 21st Century Rail Stations explored design strategies of great rail stations while integrating them into cities and creating exciting new mixed-use places.
"Private Investment & Financing High Speed Rail" explored strategies to creatively finance and build high speed rail projects.
Daniel Krause is director of policy and operations for the US High Speed Rail Association.