Build in Southeast sooner, not later

September 18, 2015

An op-ed by Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx, the former mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Today a critical segment of the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor received the all-clear. By completing an environmental impact statement to develop service between Richmond and Raleigh, we are now closer to a groundbreaking than we have ever been since planning began in the early 1990s.

Now we have to ask ourselves a simple question: How do we keep the effort to build a powerful Southern rail network connecting Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh and Richmond to Washington, D.C., and Northeast Corridor service moving full speed ahead?

 It took a generation of discussions, planning and designing to get us to where we are today. But we do not have another generation to reach the finish line. High-speed rail in this region is not a luxury; it is a necessity, and the clock is ticking. If we cannot figure out how to build this network soon, it is not hyperbole – it is a fact – that the South is going to be stuck in traffic for a very long time.Website Insert Start Here copy

Back when planning for the Southeast corridor started, Raleigh commuters spent roughly 20 hours a year stuck in traffic. Last year Raleigh commuters lost 34 hours. Granted, this is still below the growing national average. But will it stay this way when there are 18 million more people, as the America 2050 study found, competing for the region’s road and airport spaces as we know them? What will rush-hour driving from Raleigh to other cities in this corridor be like under these conditions? A recent U.S. Department of Transportation report, Beyond Traffic, in turn found that our country will add 70 million more people by 2045 and that the Southeast will indeed absorb a high percentage of that growth.

Click here to read the full article by Secretary Foxx in The News & Observer.


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