Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) today urged Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to redirect to California federal funds that have been turned down by Florida.
Earlier today, the Florida governor discarded plans for a high-speed rail line, in the process rejecting more than $2 billion in federal funds. In their letter to Secretary LaHood, the Senators note California’s commitment and unique position to advance this initiative quickly.
Last year, Secretary LaHood redirected $624 million to California after Senators Feinstein and Boxer made a similar request when several states cancelled their high-speed rail projects.
Following is the text of the letter:
February 16, 2011
The Honorable Ray LaHood
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave., SE
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary LaHood,
We are writing to express California’s continued commitment to the President’s high-speed rail initiative and to ask that the $2.4 billion in Federal grants recently returned be redirected to our high-speed rail initiative. We believe this is an opportunity for the Administration to further its investment in the project that demonstrates the greatest potential for success. Awarding these funds to California will advance the President’s goals for high-speed rail, as expressed in the State of the Union.
California is leading the Nation in the development of high-speed rail. As you know, voters in our state have committed over $9 billion in bonds to high-speed rail - a unique level of public support that demonstrates that our state is a reliable, long term partner in this initiative. Combined with Federal grants, we have over $5.5 billion in funds allocated for construction that will begin in 2012. Californians know that these additional federal funds represent over 80,000 new manufacturing, construction, and technology jobs in our state. We are eager to expand our partnership with the Department of Transportation and get to work.
It is now clear that California will lead the way in demonstrating the viability of high speed rail to the rest of the country. We are ready to do so and look forward to working with the Department of Transportation to see the high-speed rail is a success in California, and the entire nation.
Dianne Feinstein Barbara Boxer
United States Senator United States Senator