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Fast forward on Infra? High-Speed Rail Announcement

Posted by Steve Anderson on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Here is what the White House announced on January 28th:

“… the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is awarding $8 billion to states across the country to develop America’s first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), these dollars represent an historic investment in the country’s transportation infrastructure, which will help create jobs and transform travel in America.” More…

A sampling of reactions from several Infra investment advocates:

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): “In the face of fierce competition from states across the nation, Illinois’ high-speed rail proposal received a strong vote of confidence from the White House today. Illinois was one of only three states to be awarded more than one billion dollars in funding from the federal government’s total nationwide investment of $8 billion. This is a massive investment into the future of transportation. It is seventeen times more funding than the federal government has invested into passenger rail over the last ten years combined.” More…

Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell: “I applaud President Obama’s leadership for recognizing and investing in strategies that will be crucial if we are to meet the transportation needs of the next century. From a national perspective, it is highly appropriate to make the largest investments in the two marquee projects in California and Florida while continuing to move other shovel-ready projects forward. I am pleased that the U.S. Department of Transportation selected our two priority projects for funding. Pennsylvania and the nation must continue to look for ways to underwrite more passenger rail investment.” More…

America 2050: “America has gone from zero to sixty on high-speed rail in less than a year, joining virtually every other industrialized nation in making high-speed rail the backbone of a national infrastructure system.  We applaud the Obama Administration’s vision in supporting this energy efficient, modern form of transportation and look forward to learning which corridors will be selected.” More…

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO): “A world class system of high-speed and intercity passenger rail in America is no longer just a dream. It is real and its success is critical to transforming transportation in our lifetime…State departments of transportation have spearheaded the effort to develop and fund a national intercity passenger rail system for the past decade. They have planned, financed, and delivered successful intercity passenger rail service, and they will lead the development of high-speed rail systems across the nation.” More…

William Millar, President, American Public Transportation Association: “These grants for high-speed rail mean that we are much closer to a world-class transportation system that demonstrates the vision of a connected America.  They put us on the right track to connecting our transportation network so that people can take high-speed rail and easily transfer to local public transportation services to reach their destination.” More…

California High-Speed Rail Authority: “This award is fantastic news for California and for our state’s high-speed rail project. It is an award that will lead to the creation of tens of thousands of quality jobs in the near-term and to continued economic strength and enhance our transportation network in the long term…This award will go toward specific projects, but it will benefit every single section of our planned high-speed rail system by moving this entire vision closer to reality – closer to being the first true high-speed rail system in the United States.” More…

Jimmy Hoffa, General President, Teamsters: “High speed rail is a crucial investment in our future and building these rail lines will create good jobs and provide working families with security…The growth and expansion of our country was partly determined by the first railroads that crossed the nation. We see high speed rail as a modern extension of those first projects.” More…

John Robert Smith, Co-Chair, Transportation for America Coalition: “I have seen first-hand what investment in rail infrastructure and transit-oriented development can do to lift a mid-sized city like Meridian, Mississippi. Now there are people living in downtown, there’s entertainment downtown and a conference center has been built. It all started with a public sector investment done right. The vibrancy that returns to smaller communities as a result of rail service has improved the quality of life for millions of Americans. This is not about big city versus small, or urban versus rural. Chicago and Los Angeles will surely benefit from rail investment, but so too will places like Minot, North Dakota and Whitefish, Montana. This addresses the needs of our entire country and should be embraced by our representatives in Washington from all corners.More…

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