June 22-26, 2001

 
 
ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS: TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

NATIONAL RAIL POLICY

WHEREAS, The U. S. Conference of Mayors has called for adoption of a National Rail Policy for the 21st Century; and

WHEREAS, such a policy is essential to help build out the third leg of the nation's transportation system, further strengthening prior investments in the nation's highway and aviation systems; and

WHEREAS, this policy should focus on promoting increased investment in intercity passenger rail, local and metropolitan passenger rail, and freight rail; and

WHEREAS, high-speed intercity passenger rail is now growing in priority among the states as a means for delivering new options for business and leisure travel between cities; and

WHEREAS, high-speed intercity rail services can also provide future relief to congested airline and highway corridors, diversifying regional and interregional transportation networks; and

WHEREAS, passenger rail in local markets, i.e. light rail, trolleys, commuter rail and other fixed guideway projects have been fueling the growth in public transportation, which over the last five years has outpaced the growth of both aviation and highway use; and

WHEREAS, there are scores of communities and regions that are now planning, engineering and constructing light rail, commuter rail and other fixed guideway projects, both new systems and expansions to existing ones; and

WHEREAS, rail infrastructure for continued and improved efficiency of freight rail transportation must be modernized to keep pace with growing demands on these facilities; and

WHEREAS, increased investment in local, metropolitan and intercity passenger rail as well as freight rail transportation can deliver many positive community and economic benefits, including improved clean air, enhanced safety, more efficient use of energy, accelerated urban redevelopment, and smart growth as well as strengthened transportation capabilities; and

WHEREAS, there are other rail-related investments that can help integrate our rail other and the transportation systems to support the increased use of rail transportation, such as incentives for rail and transit-oriented development, rehabilitation of stations and rail crossings and the development of internodal and other facilities that integrate our nation's transportation systems; and

WHEREAS, increased federal investment is needed to accelerate the contribution of rail infrastructure to our nation's transportation capacities, particularly at this time when our highway and aviation systems are so overburdened,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls upon Congress and the Administration to make enactment of the "High-Speed Rail Investment Act of 2001" the first installment in a broader National Rail Policy for the 21st Century, an initiative which delivers federal partnership resources to the states and Amtrak for the development of high-speed and other intercity passenger rail services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference calls upon the Congress and the Administration to at least double, if not triple, the planning and capital commitments to the 'new starts' and 'rail modernization' programs under TEA-21 to accelerate investment in local and metropolitan rail projects which are now leading the growth in U.S. public transit use; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference urges the Congress and the Administration to provide new resources and incentives to support rail relocation and related efforts at the state and local level to ensure safer and more efficient freight movements while also promoting the reuse of freight rights-of-way for passenger rail and other alternative transportation uses; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Conference calls upon the Congress and the Administration to provide new incentives, both direct funding to state and local governments as well as incentives to the private sector, emphasizing station rehabilitation, transit-oriented development, rail crossing improvements, transit use through equalization of commuter and parking benefits, and the development of intermodal facilities.