Starting The Campaign to INVEST in Metropolitan Rail

revised 8/23/20

In June 2020, The U.S. House passed The INVEST Act. While Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation will not become law this year, transit advocates suddenly have a chance to use this Reauthorization to develop alternatives that can compete against the incessant growth of single occupant journeys. Missing from INVEST is a policy to modernize commuter rail into Metropolitan Rail and, thereby, serve as the backbone for the alternative that removes more mid-length car journeys from congested roads.

Over the next several months, train advocates can detail The INVEST Act so commuter rail has a chance to approach the 21st Century standard that benefits our European competitors. Because the U.S. lags in its unique ways, this website proposes calling our federal policy Metropolitan Rail. The MR process starts when legacy terminals convert to higher-capacity through-stations. Getting this into legislation requires a Campaign. What follows summarizes some documents that explain a Campaign to INVEST in MR. Each is proceeded by the document’s primary image.

This map conveys that 9 of the 9 largest U.S. metros have commuter rail and the incentive to start a federal policy for MR.

First document….. Providing political context and some detail, review this site’s updated Home page, “Our Next Dialogue: Make More of INVEST… Add MR.” It outlines the INVEST in MR Campaign within the suggestion that the pandemic response creates a key opportunity to change how trains are governed.

MR should be as important a metropolitan policy as was the Interstate System… and cure its consequences.

Second… This document is written for busy staffers: a short introduction to how three terminal conversion studies can be added to The INVEST Act during the next 6 months. A fourth study would prototype a federal policy for MR during today’s bailouts for metropolitan operators.

Courtesy of Crossrail Chicago, this map shows how the nation’s 20th Century rail hub can be a 21st Century passenger rail hub.

Third… “Through-Route Chicago” outlines a prototype proposal that other metros can use in their efforts to have independent studies written into the INVEST Act that will pass in early 2021.

A fourth document will be produced later in 2020 that proposes an independent study to through-route the New York metro.

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