CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rumors of high-speed rail’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, according to Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) Executive Director Howard Learner. The Federal Railroad Administration will soon be making $2 billion in new federal high-speed rail grants for shovel-ready projects in response to competitive requests from 24 Governors—12 Democrats, one Independent and 11 Republicans. These upcoming investments should move high-speed rail forward notwithstanding the disappointing FY 2011 budget cuts.
The partisan attacks are counter to the pragmatic understanding of both Democratic and Republican Governors that modern high-speed rail makes sense for their states and for the nation. Americans want modern, fast and better rail service that can improve mobility, reduce pollution, create jobs and spur economic growth, Mr. Learner commented:
“High-speed rail investments are on track with vast bipartisan support across the country. While bickering continues inside the Beltway, projects are moving forward, jobs are being created, and dozens of governors from both sides of the aisle are applying for $2 billion in available funding.
Members of Congress are trying to score political points by cutting a program that creates jobs and better transportation options at a time when gas prices are nearing an all-time high. It’s time to stop playing politics with transportation investment and get back to investing in our economic future.
Federal Railroad Administration is reviewing 24 applications for high-speed rail funding from 11 Republican governors, including Scott Walker of Wisconsin, 12 Democrats and 1 independent. After refusing $800 million in high-speed rail funding, Gov. Walker is now asking the FRA for $150 million of it back.
Americans recognize that the United States cannot compete on a global stage unless it invests in next-generation transportation infrastructure. American spending on infrastructure is a fraction of other nations’, creating an investment gap that will become a competitiveness gap.
We hope that our elected officials in Washington will hear the calls from their constituents to support innovation for America’s future and continue to invest in high-speed rail so that our economic recovery and our transportation future can stay on track.”
ELPC is nationally known for its high-speed rail advocacy. The organization has studied passenger rail for nearly two decades and provide transportation counsel and policy support to state, local and federal government.
Learner is available for comment on high-speed rail initiatives. To schedule an interview, call 312-629-9400. To learn more about the Environmental Law & Policy Center’s high-speed rail advocacy, visit www.highspeedrailworks.org.