Orange County’s highest ranking elected Democrat today sent out the following press release.
WASHINGTON, D.C. â€“ Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) today joined a growing list of California lawmakers who are asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to redirect high-speed rail funding refused by other states to California. In a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo, Reps. Sanchez, Laura Richardson (CA-37), John Garamendi (CA-10), Zoe Lofgren (CA-16), and Jim Costa (CA-20) noted that California is poised to become a leader in world-class high-speed rail. The proposed 220 mph train from Sacramento/San Francisco to San Diego is shovel-ready, with construction scheduled to begin in 2012.
â€œCalifornia has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to high-speed rail,â€ said Rep. Sanchez. â€œThe stateâ€™s rail proposals enjoy strong bipartisan support from the State Legislature, the California Delegation, the public, and other stakeholders who want to bring our transportation systems into the 21st century. By redirecting available funding to California, the Department of Transportation will be taking positive action to provide our state with cleaner, safer, and more efficient mass transit.â€
California has already taken significant steps to make high-speed rail a reality. In July, the Federal Transit Administration awarded the City of Anaheim $5 million to help fund the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) project. Once completed, ARTIC will accommodate existing bus, rail, and shuttle connections to the Anaheim Resort Area, as well as high-speed trains.
The California Delegationâ€™s letter follows a similar appeal sent by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier this week. A copy of the Delegationâ€™s letter can be found below:
Secretary Ray LaHood
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Administrator Joseph C. Szabo
Federal Railroad Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary LaHood and Administrator Szabo:
As several states have recently announced their intention to cancel their high-speed rail plans, we see this as an opportunity to concentrate our federal investment in a state that is both an ideal location for high-speed rail and ready and eager to implement a high-speed rail system.
Californiaâ€™s project enjoys strong bipartisan support from the State Administration, the State Legislature, the public, and a diverse group of stakeholders, including the California Labor Federation, California Chamber of Commerce, and the Sierra Club of California. In fact, the voters of California have clearly indicated their desire for high-speed rail by voting for a $9 billion bond measure to fund the system, making California the only state in the nation to have passed a high-speed rail measure.
California is ideal for a high-speed train system.Â When completed, the 220 mph train is expected to span 800 miles from Sacramento/San Francisco â€“ through the San Joaquin Valley â€“ to San Diego. According to the CA High Speed Rail Authority, hundreds of thousands of new jobs are projected to be created.Â Other benefits of high-speed rail according to the CA High Speed Rail Authority include: greater transportation mobility; increase intermodal connections; decrease congestion, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; and serve as a catalyst for smart-growth-development at stations.
California is well poised to demonstrate to the world that the United States can be a leader in world-class high-speed rail, and is ready to begin construction by 2012 and passenger service by 2020.Â We look forward to your assistance in making this system a reality.