Industry Anticipates U.S. 'Rail Revolution'
The $8 billion President Obama outlined for high-speed and inter-city passenger rail grants on Jan. 28 includes projected projects in 31 states, with major investments in Florida and California. According to the Department of Transportation, the grants are seen as a "down-payment on developing or laying the groundwork for 13 new, large-scale high-speed rail corridors across the country."
ZweigWhite, a Wayland, Mass.-based provider of business management services for architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms published a special edition of its weekly management journal, The Zweig Letter on Feb. 22, exploring what the investment potentially means for professionals in the design industry and for the country in general.
"The mass transit money will at a minimum have a ripple effect and stimulate the need for both public and private infrastructure improvements in the Northeast corridor, California and the Midwest," Arthur Schwartz, deputy executive director and general counsel with the National Society of Professional Engineers, told The Zweig Letter. "It would seem that if they have not already done so, design firms need to position themselves to participate in this significant opportunity."
New York City engineer Samuel Schwartz equates the investment in high-speed rail to that of Eisenhower's 1956 interstate highway system plan. His firm, Sam Schwartz Engineering, recently hired Howard Roberts, former head of New York City Transit, as senior vice president of transit and rail services, a new business line.
"Now we're getting serious about rail," he said. "I think what we hope we're seeing is 1956 all over again. We think we're right at the inception of a rail revolution."
For more information about ZweigWhite or The Zweig Letter, visit www.zweigwhite.com.