USA: High Speed Rail Could Benefit from Oil Fees

Image courtesy of the White House

President Barack Obama has announced a proposal that a $10 per barrel fee levied on oil companies will be invested in environmentally sustainable forms of transport, including high-speed rail. The announcement comes following the President’s pledge to increase investment in environmentally sustainable modes of transport at his State of the Union address 2016.

The fee would be invested in modes of transportation that reduce carbon emissions via the development of an integrated and sustainable transport sector, which are in turn hoped to strengthen the economy and make rail and other public transit modes more reliable and accessible.

The programme would reform the existing thinking on urban planning and investment , building on the Recovery and Re-Investment Act 2009 which allocated $90billion into clean energy, with a portion of the budget intended to develop high-speed rail in order to reduce dependence on cars and aviation.

The White House Fact Sheet states that:

“The plan would expand clean, reliable, and safe transportation options like public transit and rail, making it easier for millions of Americans to get to work, access new jobs, and take their kids to school—reducing the 7 billion hours that American waste in traffic each year…. And make high-speed rail a viable alternative to flying in major regional corridors and invest in new rail technologies like maglev.”

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