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DOT awards nearly $1 billion for California high-speed rail construction

(Source: U.S. Department of Transportation press release, November 22, 2011)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded a California High-Speed Rail Authority for initial construction of California High-Speed Rail. Construction will begin next year in Fresno, creating tens of thousands of jobs in California.

“California’s population will grow by 60 percent over the next 40 years,” said Secretary LaHood. “Investing in a green, job creating high-speed rail network is less expensive and more practical than paying for all of the expansions to already congested highways and airports that would be necessary to accommodate the state’s projected population boom.”

Today’s grant, when combined with voter-approved state support and previously-awarded federal dollars, will fund the construction of the first usable segment of the California system in the Central Valley. In the recently released business plan, the Authority embraced a phased implementation similar to those used for international systems.

The first construction project will put more than 100,000 people to work during the next five years. Over the course of the network’s construction, more than one million jobs are expected to be created, and the economic activity spurred by the new system is expected to add up to 450,000 new non-high-speed rail jobs to the California economy by 2040.

California’s 220-mph high-speed rail system will connect to the rest of the state’s transportation network, improving local, regional and international mobility. Travelers moving throughout the state will connect to local transit and commuter service to reach their final destinations, reducing the need to add more highway trips through a state that is home to six of the ten most congested metropolitan areas in the nation. A recent study by the Texas Transportation Institute found Californians consumed more than 38 million gallons of fuel while stuck in traffic last year.

California is one of thirty-two states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia that are laying the foundation for high-speed rail corridors that will link Americans with faster and more energy-efficient travel options. To date, the U.S. Department of Transportation has invested $10.1 billion to put American communities on track towards new and expanded rail access and improved reliability, speed, and frequency of existing service.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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