For Immediate Release
Statement on House Approval of $4 Billion Investment for High-Speed Rail Funds
Statement of John Krieger, Federal Transportation Policy Analyst for the US Public Interest Research Group, on House passage of new high-speed rail funds
WASHINGTON - On Thursday, the House approved a $4 billion investment for high-speed passenger rail in the FY2010 transportation budget, with a vote of 256 to 168. The investment represents an increase of $3 billion over President Barack Obama's original request
"In an era of overburdened airports and highways, momentum is building both inside and out of Congress for a stronger, faster, more competitive rail system.
"The House's remarkable investment in high-speed passenger rail will help meet the enormous nationwide demand that was ignited by $8 billion of rail grants in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Forty states submitted 272 applications for these grants, totaling $105 billion.
"Clearly, this immediate broad-based desire for new high-speed rail projects is proof that the funding can and will be used by the states as soon as it can get out the door.
"High-speed passenger rail will provide clean, safe, reliable and efficient travel between America's population centers. Long-term federal investment in rail will also create tens of thousands of quality American jobs in states that have experienced losses in the technology, construction, and engineering sectors over the last decade.
"President Obama has called for a new vision for the way that we get around in this country, and Congress is heeding that call."
U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.