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Myths / Facts

Claim: Few people will ride the trains.

Fact:  Amtrak continues to break its annual ridership records, carrying a best-ever 30.9 million passengers for FY 2014. In 2010, ridership increased on every single Amtrak route, with several experiencing double-digit growth.

Claim: High-speed rail is less energy efficient than driving.

Fact: Trains are 3 times as energy efficient as cars and 6 times as efficient as planes on a per-passenger-mile basis.

Claim: Unlike Europe and Asia, the U.S. does not have the population density to support high-speed rail.

Fact: The U.S. population is densely clustered in the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, and California – precisely the areas where high-speed rail projects are advancing.

Claim: People will not be able to get to their final destination from the train station.

Fact: Because train stations are almost always located downtown, they can provide seamless door-to-door transportation.

Claim: High-speed rail will require huge government subsidies.

Fact: Every form of transportation requires government investment.

Claim: We would be better off spending high-speed rail funds on urban transit.

Fact: This is not an ‘either or’ discussion. High-speed rail and urban transit work together to provide seamless transportation from origin to destination. Investments in transit can boost high-speed rail ridership and vice versa.

Claim: If we build high-speed passenger rail, we will take away capacity for freight rail, resulting in more trucks and more pollution.

Fact: On the contrary, the track and signal upgrades that are part and parcel of high-speed rail plans will enable passenger trains to be more frequent and dependable, which will ultimately allow more freight trains on the tracks, traveling faster, according to a Transportation Economics and Management Systems report.