Story at a glance

  • Buttigieg said the U.S. has the opportunity to lead the world in high-speed rail transportation.
  • Buttigieg’s comments come after he urged the 55,000 employees in his agency to embrace “imaginative, bold, forward thinking.”
  • President Biden has vowed to “spark the second great railroad revolution.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the U.S. needs to “take things to the next level” and become a world leader in high-speed rail transportation. 

“As you know, the president is a big believer in passenger rail,” Buttigieg said during an interview on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” on Thursday. 


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“We’ve been asked to settle for less in this country, and I just don’t know why people in other countries ought to have better train service and more investment in high-speed train service than Americans do,” he said

Buttigieg, who was just sworn in Wednesday as transportation secretary, praised Japan’s bullet train network and rail services in the United Kingdom and Turkey. He said Amtrak has done a “heroic job with the constraints that have been placed on them” in the U.S., but said the nation needs to step it up as it lags behind Europe and China in rail safety and speed. 

“I want the U.S. to be leading the world when it comes to access to high-speed rail, and I think we have a real opportunity to do that, especially with the bipartisan appetite for real investments that we have before us this year,” he said. 

Buttigieg’s comments come after he urged the 55,000 employees in his agency to embrace “imaginative, bold, forward thinking” in an email message, according to The Associated Press

President Biden, who famously commuted more than 100 miles daily on Amtrak as a senator from Delaware to Washington, D.C., has vowed to “spark the second great railroad revolution.” Biden has made promises to invest in and build a national high-speed passenger rail network from coast to coast in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and give more Americans the freedom and flexibility to travel. 

He has laid out plans to expand the Northeast Corridor to the South and increase speeds to reduce travel time from Washington, D.C., to New York by half. The administration also has plans to complete the California High Speed Rail project. 


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Published on Feb 05, 2021