LIVABLE COMMUNITIES

golden retriever fetching stickOn June 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined together to help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.20 The partnership promotes the principal that sustainable communities are important to our national goals of strengthening our economy, creating good jobs now while providing a foundation for lasting prosperity, using energy more efficiently to secure energy independence, and protecting our natural environment and human health.21 The three federal agencies came together to create the Partnership for Sustainable Communities to help places around the country develop in more environmentally and economically sustainable ways. The partnership agencies incorporate six principles of livability into federal funding programs, policies, and future legislative proposals:

     •     Provide more transportation choices
     •     Promote equitable, affordable housing
     •     Enhance economic competitiveness
     •     Support existing communities
     •     Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment
     •     Value communities and neighborhoods

The XpressWest supports these principals of livability. By definition, the system will provide a new transportation choice in the Corridor. The Project will enhance economic competitiveness by initiating the high speed rail construction, operation, and maintenance industry with significant job creation and training. The Project will support the existing communities of Southern California and Southern Nevada by fostering transit oriented and mixed use development around the terminal Stations. In addition to policies cited above, the Project embodies the federal policy objective as stated under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (PRIIA) Section 307, which provides that the DOT’s rail plan must promote an integrated, cohesive, efficient, and optimized national rail system for the movement of goods and people.

Currently, Southern California and Southern Nevada travelers have no high speed rail option. While merely establishing the service satisfies the requirement of interconnectivity mandated by PRIIA, XpressWest as designed, will provide for complete and seamless interoperability with future high speed rail systems. This approach is consistent with the belief expressed by FRA that it is imperative that each high speed rail trainset be interoperable with other conventional and high speed rail trainsets and that it is critical that individual high speed rail systems are compatible with and can connect with other high speed rail and passenger systems.22 And lastly, as designed, the Project values communities and neighborhoods by maximizing the use of existing right-of-way so as not to require the relocation of even one household over the entire rail line.

21 Ibid.

22 March 25, 2011 letter from FRA to XpressWest regarding Docket number FRA-2010-0098.



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