EDR Group’s Steve Fitzroy was invited to participate on a panel discussing the potential economic benefits of high speed rail at the fourth annual conference of the US High Speed Rail Association held in New York City on November 14-16, 2010. Fitzroy reviewed the results of the widely acclaimed EDR Group study conducted for the US Conference of Mayors, and noted the potential for long-term economic gains and need for those gains to be leveraged to help finance HSR investments.
Also appearing at the conference was Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who reaffirmed his commitment to high speed rail and its funding. In front of hundreds of politicians, business people and urban planners, LaHood announced that funds allocated to states for high speed rail projects must be used for that purpose, or the funds will be reallocated to other states for use on their rail projects.
EDR Group was invited to present based on its extensive experience with high speed rail projects, as well as a deep understanding of the potential economic impacts that would result. EDR Group’s landmark study for the US conference of Mayors on the local economic development impacts and opportunities associated with development of high speed rail (HSR) service, examined four American cities representing a wide range of different locations, sizes and potential operating conditions. This study uncovered several critical local issues that have not been identified in past studies that had focused on broader regions.
Additional high speed rail studies conducted by EDR Group include an economic development impacts analysis of high speed rail from the San Francisco Bay Area to Central Valley, CA and a study on the economic impact of a proposed high speed train through the Edmonton-Calgary, Canada corridor. The firm is currently preparing an environmental impact statement for Atlanta-Chattanooga high speed rail.
EDR Group also conducts studies of the economic development linkage between high speed rail and commuter rail, as well as its supporting infrastructure. Recent projects include a comparative analysis of commuter rail alternatives for the proposed New Bedford-Fall River to Boston South Coast commuter rail extension, assessment of the first three years of Downeaster Amtrak train service between Portland, ME and Boston, MA, measurement of the benefits and costs associated with development of a long-term strategy for advancing rapid transit in Durham, Ontario and several economic impact studies related to the public rail systems in metro-Toronto.