U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson today visited construction at the Sacramento Valley Station, showcasing the economic impact of federal investments in the station and other passenger rail projects throughout the state.
The project is central to the development of the 240-acre Sacramento Railyards project, which will double the footprint of downtown Sacramento by attracting an entertainment district, new office buildings, hotels, condos and other development.
"This project is transforming downtown Sacramento and boosting the local economy," said Secretary LaHood. "California's investments are creating American construction and manufacturing jobs right now, while making communities across the state better places to locate businesses and hire new employees."
The Sacramento Valley Station is currently served by Amtrak routes from the Bay Area and the Central Valley and will one day be served by California's High-Speed Train. DOT has invested nearly $40 million to relocate the station tracks, part of the $70 million first phase. The City of Sacramento projects that as many as 2,000 jobs will be created from this project.
Sacramento's long-term vision for the station is that it will provide passengers arriving on intercity trains with easy access to several transit options to reach their final destination. The city has said that better local and intercity transportation access will help spur private investment and bring new jobs to the Railyards site, much like cities such as Denver and Washington, D.C. experienced with similar projects.
Secretary LaHood traveled throughout California this week to discuss the state's future transportation challenges and the role Californians will play in building a transportation network to handle the demands of the 21st century economy. Construction of California's 220 miles-per-hour high-speed rail system will begin in Fresno later this year and, according to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, will create tens of thousands of jobs over the next five years in one of the regions hardest hit by the recession.
California is home to six of the 10 most congested metropolitan areas in the country and the busiest short-haul air market in the nation. The stress on the state's infrastructure will become even more pronounced during the next 40 years, as its population will grow by more than 20 million people. Without constructing the high-speed rail system, the California High-Speed Rail Authority estimates that the state would need to invest $171 billion to acquire the equivalent level of capacity -- 2,300 miles of new highways, 115 new airport gates, and four new airport runways.
"Our highways and airports simply can't handle the growth," said Secretary LaHood. "At this make or break moment, America needs a transportation jobs bill that includes resources to continue building a high-speed rail network."
California's passenger rail system is one of several regional networks planned across the United States. To date, the U.S. Department of Transportation has invested $10.1 billion to put American communities on track toward new and expanded rail access and improved reliability, speed, and frequency of existing service.