The Spanish infrastructure sector looks again with optimism to the United States after the resounding statement of the new Secretary of Transportation of the United States, Pete Buttigieg, in favor of investment in high-speed rail. “We have to jump to the next level,” he said in an interview with the MSNBC channel, “I don’t understand why other countries have better rail service and higher investment in high-speed than the US.”
The head of Transportation was sworn in on February 3 and a few days later he signed the promises included in the package Build Back Better, in which Joe Biden it specifies its vision of infrastructures and gives the train a central role.
ACS, Ferrovial or Renfe They are a benchmark for the US rail sector after having entered, the first two, on the California high-speed line, and Renfe as the operator of the Texas AVE. In the company environment, the message that now comes from the other side of the Atlantic is heard with hope.
The rail lobby asks for the Administration’s support for the California and Texas lines
The Biden government has already detected investment appetite in various parts of the US and its Secretary of Transportation points towards a new opportunity for high speed.
From the High Speed Rail Alliance He has been asked to restore the $ 929 million grant withdrawn by Donald Trump to the Los Angeles-San Francisco line, as well as a close collaboration of the Federal Railroad Administration with that project. It is also claimed from this lobby that the long distance services of the Amtrak operator be promoted; the completion of the Chicago-San Luis corridor, and support for the expansion, in number of lanes, of the line between Newark and the New York Penn station.
Regarding the Renfe project, the sector asks the new Government for a relationship as close as possible with the private developer Texas Central Partners. The objective is to start as soon as possible construction of the Houston-Dallas high-speed line. The collective, sponsored by the Spanish Talgo, Siemens, Alstom or Bombardier, among many others, also press for the renewal of the fleet and the design of a plan to create a national high-speed network. The ground is, at the moment, more fertile than ever.
Reluctance in the past
States like Florida, Ohio or Wisconsin rejected federal support during Barack Obama’s term. The largest service in the United States, the one between Boston and Washington DC, is behind the high speed developed in 18 countries. A situation that for the new Transport Minister should be reversed in the short term if the necessary support is achieved in Congress.
Buttigieg: “I don’t understand why other countries have better service and more investment in high speed”
The coveted national high-speed network has been budgeted in $ 205 billion (about $ 170 billion) in the bill presented in December by the Democratic congressman Seth Moulton. “High-speed rail is faster, cleaner, safer and better for our economy. It will connect people to their jobs in new places, give Americans choice in the way they travel, and put us on par with the rest of the world, ”Moulton explained at the time.
The Secretary of Transportation during Obama’s first term, Ray LaHood, starred days ago in a cross-accusation, through CNN Business, with the former governor of Florida, Rick Scott, due to the fact that the State freezed what was to be the first high-speed line in the US in 2011. LaHood accuses Scott of renouncing aid for 2.3 billion dollars. And the senator today defends that he stopped the project because it was going to cost hundreds of millions to Florida taxpayers.
Obama’s drive did take root in California, where the San Francisco-Los Angeles corridor was cut off between cost overruns and the withdrawal of federal funds. Still, the California High Speed Authority remains confident that the private sector will support the development of the line.
Texas Central Partners, promoter of the Houston-Dallas project, has not been oblivious to the position of the Secretary of Transportation and has publicly welcomed the new boost to high speed.