We are writing to request that New York State receive a portion of the $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funds that the state of Florida was awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As you know, this morning Governor Rick Scott announced his decision to reject the funds for the Orlando high-speed rail project. New York State is committed to implementing high-speed rail because we understand that an improved transportation system is vital to our national security.
While we are aware of the resistance among some to spend money in our current economic environment, the truth is that only bold investments in our nation's infrastructure will help us build a foundation for a stronger future, compete in the global economy and improve national security. The ability to ensure the safety of our citizens is tied directly to our ability to rebuild and retool our transportation networks and our economy that relies on these networks for success. A national high-speed rail system would serve as a modern network to move both civilian and military personnel at a moment's notice, while freeing our freight rail lines to move goods and supplies.
Continuing high-speed rail efforts in Upstate New York, will directly benefit the thousands of rail workers in the state, just as it would in regions throughout the country. Once completed, a high speed-rail line would continue to create expanded opportunities for economic growth. In Western New York, completion of an Empire Corridor high speed rail line would reduce travel time significantly, and expand the Western New York labor market to 955,562 workers. This would make the Buffalo-Niagara Falls-Rochester metro area the 26th largest in the nation.
It would also open Canadian markets to the United States. A high-speed rail line between the two countries would serve as an international gateway tying together knowledge hubs like Montreal, Toronto and New York City with the skilled and talented labor of Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara Falls. It also would break down the east-west barrier of current American train travel, by providing access to Boston to the east, and Detroit and Chicago to the west- a notion that is unheard of today.
Thank you for your consideration and for your strong leadership in the Administration's historic and bold initiative to modernize our nation's infrastructure with high-speed rail.
Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28)