October 2, 2001

Citing Terrorist Attacks, Mayors Urge Significant New National Investment In Rail System
U.S. Reliance on Air Travel Makes Nation Vulnerable

Washington, DC -- The recent terrorist attacks highlighted the nation's economic vulnerability resulting from a reliance on air travel and an under-developed national rail system, said Gary, Indiana Mayor Scott King today in testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Download the testimony.
"Last month's attacks underscore the economic vulnerability of our nation's transportation system, particularly when we rely too heavily on a single mode of transportation," said Mayor King, who appeared on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the official nonpartisan organization of the 1,200 American cities with populations of 30,000 or more. "The horrendous attacks only increase the urgency of addressing our critical infrastructure needs by aggressively investing in alternative modes of transportation, including high-speed rail."

King expressed the strong support of the nation's Mayors for significant additional funding to link U.S. metropolitan areas via high-speed rail networks. He said such an investment would reap environmental, energy, and economic benefits for the nation.

King testified that expanded rail investments could result in significant energy savings. Two-thirds of oil consumption in the United States occurs in the transportation sector, which is almost totally dependent on petroleum. In contrast, high-speed rail can use electricity as a power source.

King noted that about half of all domestic flights involve trips of 400 miles or less, with 25 percent of flights covering distances of 200 miles or less. He said that European nations have built a broad and successful high-speed rail network to meet the needs of passengers on these shorter trips.

On a related matter, Mayor King reiterated the Mayors' call for the full federalization of airport security screening for passengers and baggage at all U.S. airports. Yesterday, a U.S. Conference of Mayors task force, headed by Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, released a set of principles to promoted improved airport security and economic viability. The task force's recommendations can be accessed online at

Contact: Andy Solomon (202) 861-6766


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