Population growth in our area is expected to increase traffic by over 30 million trips; equivalent to a 40% increase in traffic by 2050. Such an increase will bring significant congestion and delays to our current highway and air systems. By comparison, passenger rail will bring substantial environmental benefits, providing a cost effective alternative to auto and air travel, tempering the strain on our highway infrastructure and making population growth more manageable from a travel perspective.
The environmental benefits include:
- Decreased energy consumption
- Reduced accidents
- Reduced air pollution and emissions
- Reduced land for auto and air facilities
- Intensified and reuse of urban area lands around stations
- Reduced wetland and water resource impact by reuse of existing rail routes.
The level of environmental support for passenger rail reflects its ability to minimize energy, reduce accidents, minimize highway congestion, and limit greenfield impacts by making optimal use of existing right-of-way. This development strategy will produce a much smaller carbon and physical footprint than either highway or airport development, in which forests, farmland, or wetlands are often impacted.