Job-creating investment will support record growth of passenger rail industry without adding to America’s debt
Sep 21 2011
Washington—U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) today announced the Senate Appropriations Committee has accepted their amendment to restore $100 million in funding for High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail grants.
As rail travel grows in popularity as an alternative to other forms of transportation, this investment will create jobs by putting unemployed construction workers and private companies back to work upgrading transportation infrastructure without adding one penny to America’s debt.
Senator Feinstein said: “California is ready and willing to put high-speed rail funds to work, creating thousands of jobs, modernizing the state’s infrastructure and reducing pollution. I offered this amendment because we can’t turn our backs on a project that will invest in the future and put Californians back to work.”
Rail travel is experiencing consistent growth across America. In fiscal year 2010, Amtrak ridership hit a record high of 28.7 million passengers and ridership is on pace to break that record at the end of fiscal year 2011. States and communities around the country are eager for federal funds to help promote high speed and intercity rail. Last year, the Department of Transportation received nearly 100 applications for high speed rail funding, but only able to fulfill fewer than half of those requests.
The amendment is completely paid for with unobligated funds for old earmarks and project funding that is slated to expire. These old and soon-to-expire earmarks are still on the books at the U.S. Department of Transportation and should be available for today’s transportation infrastructure needs like high speed and intercity passenger rail.
The High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail Program, created in June 2009, will help build an efficient, high-speed and emerging high speed passenger rail network connecting major population centers 100 to 600 miles apart. In the short-term, the program aims to aid economic recovery efforts and lay the foundation for this high-speed passenger rail network through targeted investments. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $8 billion was awarded nationwide under this program.