77th Annual Meeting

ENCOURAGING INVESTMENT IN HIGH SPEED RAIL

WHEREAS, high speed intercity rail is part of a solution to reducing both congestion and pollution in our nation; and

WHEREAS, President Obama has revived the United States commitment to high speed rail by proposing to establish and extend the number of high speed rail corridors; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has passed numerous resolutions that recognize the benefits of high speed rail and call for increased investment; and

WHEREAS, last year (2008) alone overall Amtrak ridership increased nearly 14%; and

WHEREAS, Amtrak service like the Heartland flyer saw increased ridership of over 40% from 2007 to 2008, Keystone Service saw an increase of 26%, and the Downeaster saw an increase of 33% during the same time interval; all of which President Obama is proposing to make part of high speed rail corridors; and

WHEREAS, while increases in ridership were high, Amtrak revenues outpaced the increases in ridership with a revenue increase of over 14% in 2008 from 2007; and

WHEREAS, high speed rail decreases traffic congestion and reduces greenhouse gases that would have been otherwise released; and

WHEREAS, the President has proposed to spend $1 billion a year over the next 5 years as a down payment on these high speed rail corridors; and

WHEREAS, the proposed high speed rail corridors will allow passengers to travel safely between 150 mph and 200 mph allowing; and

WHEREAS, it has been estimated that developing high speed rail corridors will result in an annual reduction of 6 billion pounds of CO2; and

WHEREAS, this effort to establish these high speed rail corridors will create millions of jobs around our nation,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors applauds President Obama and Secretary Lahood's efforts to expand high speed rail in the United States; US Conference of Mayors applauds President Obama and Secretary Lahood's efforts to expand high speed rail in the United States; and

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conferences of Mayors calls on Congress to provide the full $5 billion funding level over the next 5 years ($1 billion per year) to begin moving toward the development of high speed rail corridors concentrating first on those that demonstrate short-term viability such as the Northeast Corridor; and

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on state and regional departments of transportation to make high speed rail a priority.