Thursday, December 10, 2009

Western high speed rail alliance formed

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Five regional planning organizations Thursday announced the formation of the Western High Speed Rail Alliance (WHSRA). The alliance envisions a Denver-to-Los Angeles corridor with regional hubs in Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Phoenix as well as links from Denver to Salt Lake City to Reno, Nev., and ultimately to San Francisco.

"We believe implementation of a regional high speed rail plan for the Rocky and Intermountain West is critical to the development of a national high-speed rail system. Corridors must be studied now to lay the groundwork for additional development," said Jacob Snow, chairman of the organization.

To fund these studies, WHSRA will request $50 million from the reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Act that Congress will take up next year.

Included in the alliance are the Denver Regional Council of Governments (the greater Denver area), the Maricopa Association of Governments (the greater Phoenix Area), Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas), the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (Reno), and the Utah Transit Authority (Salt Lake City).