Does a recent report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors touting the economic benefits of high-speed passenger rail put to rest questions about HSR's value as a business engine?
The report focused on four hub cities: Albany, N.Y.; Chicago; Los Angeles; and Orlando. Despite the differences of these hubs, the report found that high-speed rail networks had similar effects in all of them, including expanding markets; making business travel more efficient; and encouraging mixed-use development. Among its conclusions, the report argued for looking at these networks "in the broader context of a changing economy" that includes more long-distance tourism and business travel, and ever-wider markets and supply chains.
In 2035, the report says, high-speed rail networks around these four hubs could generate as much as $19 billion in new business.
What are your thoughts on the economic potential of high-speed rail? Will it generate the bang for the buck that the report says? Are there more cost-efficient ways to link cities?