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Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in opposition to a possible attempt for a Member to bring forward an amendment which would prohibit any funds in H.R. 5972 from being used towards the California High-Speed Rail Project.
As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and a cochair of the California High-Speed Rail Congressional Caucus, this project is a priority of my State and the voters who agreed to move our State into the 21st century and to be able to be competitive globally.
Our Nation's ability to move goods and people is essential to develop and maintain a strong economy, and this project is critical to meeting the State's growing transportation needs. In fact, traffic congestion in California is increasing by 10 percent each year, and it's estimated that the State's airports will reach capacity by 2030. As California's population continues to boom, we must invest in alternative systems that will remedy this constant congestion and will help to protect the health and environment of local communities.
Now, as a member of the Transportation Committee, I happened to have the opportunity to participate with Chairman Mica when we went to the Central Valley to talk about the possibility of moving forward on high-speed rail. And admittedly, there were some concerns that were brought forward, but there were far more supporters who wanted to see high-speed rail move forward than those who were opposed.
And again, I want to stress that the voters in California took it upon themselves to tax themselves as an independent State body, to tax themselves to move forward on high-speed rail. So who are we, or the Federal Government, to prohibit providing funds that might match to enable that project to move forward?
Also, given the inherent speed limitations in the Northeast corridor, it seems to me that it would be ill-advised to deny California--and this country, more importantly--the efficient transportation options that many of us so richly need, especially knowing that California is one of the most traveled areas in this country.
As a result, even the earliest investments would be helpful before this project is completed. Now is the time to make smart and long-sighted investments for alternatives to congested highways and, simultaneously, to create jobs.
Mr. Chairman, we have before us an opportunity to support American workers for today by putting America on the road to recovery while, more importantly, developing a world-class rail system that we could compete with our competitors like China. Proper funding for the California High-Speed Rail project is a necessity for the success of California and the success of the United States.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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