November 22, 2011 10:32am
• Predict that building first segment will employ more than 100,000 people over next five years
• ‘A green, job creating high-speed rail network is less expensive and more practical’
“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,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The 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.
The first construction project will put more than 100,000 people to work during the next five years, the department claims.
“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,” it predicts.
If built as planned, California’s 220-mph high-speed rail system will connect the Bay Area with the Los Angeles area. The trains would hurtle through the Central Valley at their highest speeds.
However, Kings County and others are battling the proposed system in court and Republicans in Congress have vowed to block further funding of California’s project.