21st Century Transportation for America

2020 Presidential Candidates on High Speed Rail

As the 2020 Presidential election approaches, we took a look at where each of the candidates stand on high speed rail based on their plans and what they've said during the debates and in interviews. While high speed rail features prominently, there is a wide variety of positions on what the candidates say and have in their plans.

Most of the candidates endorsed a "Green New Deal" - a climate solution blueprint published last year by the progressive wing of the Democratic Party—called for the U.S. to "build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary." It also promoted heavy investments in "clean, affordable, and accessible transportation."

Several candidates have gone further specifically calling out investment in high speed rail as outlined below.

BERNIE SANDERS - Senator Sanders has come out the strongest on high speed rail endorsing a Green New Deal with a centerpiece of high speed rail - including $607 billion allocated for a massive national high speed rail program on par with USHSR's national vision map.

Last summer, Sanders tweeted that "trains from Boston to D.C. take 7-8 hours. Trains from Beijing to Shanghai go nearly twice as far in half the time. A Green New Deal means major public investments in American-made high-speed rail. We can lower emissions, create good union jobs, and improve our quality of life."

JOE BIDEN - VP Joe Biden is a strong supporter of high speed rail having helped lead the start of the national program as VP to President Obama. He endorsed the idea at the recent debate in Las Vegas when asked about his plan to solve climate change, he said he would "invest in rail, rail, rail" because it will "take hundreds of thousands, millions of cars off the road."

Biden has called for construction of a national high-speed rail system that connects the coasts. It would boost train speeds in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, extend the line to the South, and fund other regional high-speed rail projects, notably in California and the Midwest.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG - Mayor Bloomberg has recently endorsed high speed rail with an infrastructure plan calling for investment in "regional higher-speed rail networks" and promises to "work with states to jump-start construction, building at least one new high-speed rail corridor by 2025 and investing to electrify the existing rail system."

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