WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today published its first multi-state plan for a comprehensive, high-performing passenger rail network that will support rail planning in six Southwestern states over the next 35 years. This is the first multi-state rail planning effort FRA has embarked upon, making it a model for future regional planning efforts.
“Our nation’s transportation systems must be interconnected and efficient across regions to meet current and future demand,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “This study represents a major step forward, and will become a guide post for mobility and intermodal connections throughout the Southwest.”
The Southwest study was developed with regional stakeholders and state agencies considering existing travel conditions and future demand. The Southwest study examines connections to emerging rail markets in six Southwest states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.
The study supports development of safe, reliable, efficient, and interconnected multimodal travel options, and envisions a rail network that supports environmental, social, and economic sustainability. It illustrates how connections to local transit, aviation, highways, and other modes can be integrated for travelers on a regional basis in a cost-effective manner.
“Planning is the fundamental bedrock to being ready to compete for federal funding as it becomes available,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “The Southwest study provides a new regional model for other states and regions to follow as they prepare for future passenger and freight rail development.”
The Southwest region’s longstanding interest in creating a higher-performing rail network helped bring the prototype study together. A diverse group of stakeholders—representing state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, local governments, transit agencies, Amtrak, freight railroads, and private rail developers—were fully engaged in this effort. Click here to read the study.