Information published on 26 September 2012 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 310.

US High Speed Rail Association applauds federal railroad decision to proceed with California high speed rail project

  • High-Speed

The US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) applauds the Federal Railroad Administration under the leadership of Joseph Szabo for approving the new high speed rail project in California, with its Record of Decision for the Merced-Fresno High Speed Train Project. This is the first phase of an 800 mile state-wide high speed rail system. The Federal Railroad Administration has shown vision and leadership, and a firm commitment to bringing high speed rail to America.

Working closely with the US Department of Transportation, California Governor Jerry Brown, the California State Legislature, former Governor Schwarzenegger, Dan Richard and others, the Federal Railroad Administration helped lead the way in getting America to think big again to launch this rail renaissance across the country.

“Congratulations to California and everyone who’s been working for years to bring this great project to fruition!” said Andy Kunz, USHSR President & CEO. “This is another critical step towards bringing true high speed rail to America. We commend Federal Railroad for their vision and commitment to this important project for the nation.”

“No economy can grow faster than its transportation network can carry it,” Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo said. “The Record of Decision clears the way for California to begin construction on the first segment of its high speed rail project. Over the next several years, this project will put thousands of Californians to work and provide the state with the transportation capacity and connectivity needed for long-term economic expansion.”

“Today (20 September) is a significant move forward for California’s high speed rail system,” said Dan Richard, Chair of the Authority’s Board of Directors. “Governor Brown’s leadership brought major improvements to the plans, management and delivery of high speed rail and has in large part made this day possible. The Authority is committed to a close partnership with the public in the building of high speed rail.”

“This is a turning point in California, a time when we decided to say yes to hope, yes to progress, yes to the future,” added Senator Darrell Steinberg. Jim Earp, Executive Director of California Alliance for Jobs said “Forward-thinking projects like high speed rail offer tremendous environmental, economic and transportation benefits that are well worth the investment, not only now but for future generations.”

Jeff Morales, CEO of the California High Speed Rail Authority added “This is now a statewide rail modernisation plan which will not only deliver high speed rail but also will invest billions of dollars of improvements to local and regional rail systems around the state immediately. These improvements will provide countless benefits to commuters and travellers in the near-term, while paving the way for high speed rail in the future.”

USHSR supports the California high speed rail system as a Special Project of National Significance. “It’s the largest, most advanced HSR project in the nation, with widespread public and business support for it. A number of major national and international investors are interested in public-private partnerships to build out the rest of the system,” said USHSR’s Kunz.

USHSR views increased investment in HSR as both visionary and pragmatic. It’s visionary for thinking big and working for something better. It’s pragmatic and fiscally conservative because it’s a smart investment in the nation’s future. HSR creates millions of jobs, revives our manufacturing sector, stimulates real estate development, and sets up America to save energy, money, and time – year after year. It delivers a fast and reliable mobility option, it protects the nation from energy price spikes, and increases national security by reducing our dependency on foreign oil.

The California HSR system will be the main topic at USHSR’s upcoming High Speed Rail Conference taking place from 3 – 5 December in Los Angeles.

US High Speed Rail Association is the only organisation in America focusing entirely on advancing a state-of-the-art national high speed rail network. Our vision includes a 21st century, 17,000 mile national high speed rail system built in phases for completion by 2030.

(Source: USHSR)