On February 9, 2010, as the representatives of UIC, the international railway association with a voluntary membership of approximately 200 railways worldwide, UIC Chairman Yoshio Ishida and UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux made an official visit to Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation. This visit was the first in UIC history and was related to the International Practicum on Implementing High-Speed Rail being held in the United States, jointly hosted by UIC and APTA.
In the U.S., in addition to President Obama’s announcement at the beginning of this month of 8 billion dollar expenditure for high-speed rail projects in 13 corridors, another 2.5 billion dollar expenditure in the FY 2010 budget has already been decided, and a 1 billion dollar expenditure is expected in the proposed FY 2011 budget. These all show the continuing increase in the expectations toward railways as the environmentally friendly mode of transportation.
At the meeting, Chairman Ishida first asked the Secretary LaHood for DoT’s understanding and cooperation, by saying that this International Practicum marks an important building step for the future and that Chairman Ishida would like to further enhance the collaboration between UIC and APTA. Chairman Ishida also strongly asked for DoT’s active participation in UIC activities, especially in the UIC General Assembly to be held in Tokyo this June, because DoT has been an associate member of UIC since 1973.
In this regard, while pointing out the importance of continuous investment for the railway improvement and development, Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux stated that UIC, as the global platform for railway technology, is determined to support various measures to be taken by DoT, so that major expenditures for railways in the U.S. will continue in 2011 and beyond.
Secretary LaHood expressed his thanks to UIC for its deep involvement in the holding of the International Practicum on Implementing High-Speed Rail in the United States, and stated that DoT also greatly esteems the technological expertise of UIC. FRA Deputy Administrator Ms. Karen J Rae was also present at the meeting, and these four top representatives confirmed the fostering of the cooperative relationship between UIC and DoT, thus ending the extremely fruitful meeting.