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Senators, Governor urge high-speed rail funding

U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, joined by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, wrote to President Barack Obama today in support of California’s requests for high-speed and intercity rail funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Read the full text of the letter, after the jump…

November 23, 2009

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write in strong support of California’s applications for high-speed and intercity rail funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). California has led the nation in its commitment to creating a statewide high-speed rail system.

Our state has been a leader and innovator in addressing environmental and transportation challenges on a national level. Last November, California voters approved nearly $9 billion in state bonds for high-speed rail construction, far outpacing other states’ efforts to secure local and state funding for these projects. California has completed design and planning for the nearly 800-mile system and made significant progress on the environmental review, making our state uniquely qualified to employ federal funding quickly.

California’s high-speed rail applications have broad support across the state, with backing from leading business, environmental and labor leaders. The California Chamber of Commerce, the Labor Federation of California and the Sierra Club have all endorsed California’s applications for funding. The success of California’s high-speed rail system is enormously important to our state. High-speed rail will help ease congestion and improve air quality. With unemployment in California reaching 12.5 percent – the highest unemployment rate in nearly 70 years – the impact of providing 130,000 construction-related jobs statewide cannot be understated.

We appreciate your attention to the needs of California and thank you for your commitment to this important issue. We stand ready to work with your administration in the coming years to ensure that high-speed rail has the resources necessary to continue to be a national priority.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor

cc: The Honorable Raymond H. LaHood

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.