DOT Grants Move California’s High-Speed Rail Plans Forward

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california high speed rail authority grantsCalifornia’s proposed high-speed rail system received a big boost this week thanks to two new grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation totaling $101,500,000. The funds will be used to increase the fleet of High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail cars and refine the California State Rail Plan. The grants are part of the $2.25 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) set aside for California High-Speed Rail.

“Countries around the world have high-speed rail systems that put ours to shame, and are investing sums that dwarf even the ARRA money that has recently been dedicated to American high-speed rail,” Congresswoman Laura Richardson said. “This is a great announcement for my district and the people of California as we lay the foundation for a clean, efficient mass transit system.”

The two grants are a planning grant for $1.5 million, which will be used to update the 2008 California State Rail Plan; and a $100 million grant for purchasing more efficient passenger cars for use in the new system. The California High-Speed Rail Authority predicts that construction of the system will create approximately 150,000 jobs. It also calculates 450,000 permanent new jobs created statewide by the economic growth such a system will generate over the next 25 years. The Los Angeles-San Francisco route is also projected to create a profit of $1 billion annually that will initially go back into the high-speed rail system itself for maintenance and further extensions.

Earlier this year, Congresswoman Richardson helped form the California High-Speed Rail Caucus, which serves as a platform to advocate for the needed resources to complete the project.

“I recognize that high-speed rail is necessary for the people of the 37th Congressional District, as well as the rest of the nation, as we improve the sustainability and affordability of public transportation,” Congresswoman Richardson added. “As a founding co-chair of the California High-Speed Rail Caucus, I am fully invested in building strong congressional support for California’s high-speed rail plans, and making this next generation of transportation a reality.”

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