Councilor Woods partnering to host conference on high-speed rail
On March 19, the District 1 office — in conjunction with the planning and development firm, the Finley Group — will be hosting a conference to discuss the feasibility and details of Birmingham being connected to the high-speed I-20 eXpress line that will eventually stretch from Atlanta to Dallas.
District 1 Councilor Clinton Woods is urging all residents and local stakeholders to mark their calendars for the event. “This project came up years ago,” Woods explained. “I think now that we’ve actually seen some high-speed rail going up across the country and have seen data that shows the amount of development that goes on around these lines. The economic development piece, connecting several major cities to each other, would be huge for Birmingham.”
Here are some details from the US High-Speed Rail Association:
- True high speed rail is under construction in California, the nation’s first 220-mph state-of-the-art system, and now a number of other states are following California’s lead
- Billions of dollars in private investment is pouring into the sector for the first time from pension funds, Wall Street investment firms, and the tech sector
- High speed rail systems are under construction or being planned in Florida, Nevada, Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington
- Major corporations including Microsoft are participating in advancing new high speed rail systems
- There is now broad consensus that high speed rail is a major climate solution that can green the transport sector faster than any other solution
- There is broad public support (65–78%) for federal and state high speed rail investment
- A new coalition of Congress members strongly supports major high speed rail investment
The I-20 eXpress line could take commuters from Atlanta to Dallas in around five hours. Imagine what this could mean for Birmingham to be included along that line. It would open the door for an enormous amount of economic development. Commuters could even live in Birmingham while being employed in Atlanta, being able to go to and from work in less than an hour.
“We want to make sure that everyone is informed on the process and what it would take to get this done,” Woods said, adding that these are the very initial stages of the process. “We need to have lots of discussions about what this would cost and who would pay for it. We look forward to everyone coming to Birmingham and have the opportunity to see what the future could hold.”
The conference is scheduled for March 19 at the BJCC. More details will be made available in the coming weeks.