The US High Speed Rail Association (USHSR) commends the California Legislature for their vision, leadership, and commitment to the state's new high-speed rail project. USHSR and its 250 members fully support this visionary transportation project, and commend the legislature and Governor Brown for leading the way in getting America to think big again.
"This is one of the most important projects in the history of America as it will be the first step in building the nation's 21st century transportation system. We commend the legislature, Governor Brown and Secretary LaHood for showing true leadership and moving forward with this project," said USHSR's President Andy Kunz. "This is the beginning of a new direction in transportation for America, and California is leading the way!" added Kunz. Widespread support for the project includes business groups, elected officials, labor, environmentalists and millions of Californians. "This is a courageous step forward for California's future" said Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council.
The deciding vote in favor of starting the project came late in the day Friday after hours of discussion and debate in the state Senate. The Assembly voted to move forward with the project on Thursday, leaving the final vote for the Senate on Friday. Not one single Republican voted for the bill in the Assembly or the Senate. "This is puzzling because high-speed rail supports many traditional Republican ideals that encourage big business, efficiency, new real estate development, big construction, manufacturing, economic development, international competitiveness and national security," said USHSR's Kunz, "Republicans should be the leading champions of high-speed rail."
Immediately following the vote, Senator Darrell Steinberg said "This is a turning point in California, a time when we decided to say yes to hope, yes to progress, yes to the future." U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood added, "No economy can grow faster than its transportation network allows. With highways between California cities congested and airspace at a premium, Californians desperately need an alternative."
The Los Angeles Times said recently: "If Californians have the patience and the political will to stick with it, they'll have a project with extraordinary environmental, economic and transportation benefits. If they don't, they'll have worsening congestion, rising pollution and soaring transit expenses as gasoline prices continue their inevitable rise. We like the first vision of the future better."
Recent polls show more than 88 percent of Americans support high-speed rail. Jim Earp, the 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."
USHSR supports the California high-speed rail system as a Special Project of National Significance, and sees investment in HSR is both visionary and pragmatic. It's visionary for thinking big and working for a better future. It's pragmatic and fiscally conservative because it's a smart investment in the nation's future. HSR creates millions of jobs, revives manufacturing, stimulates real estate development, and sets up America to save energy, money, and time - year after year. HSR delivers fast and reliable mobility, it lowers our carbon footprint, protects the nation from energy price spikes, and increases national security by reducing dependency on foreign oil.