Rockefeller Statement on Support of $8 Billion Investment in Developing America's High-Speed Rail Network

February 2, 2010

Acela TrainWASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, issued the following statement today in support of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s announcement of $8 billion in stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded to high-speed rail projects across the United States. The announcement was made during a town hall meeting the President and Vice President held in Tampa, Florida. The awards will go toward developing the groundwork for 13 new, large-scale high-speed rail corridors across the country.

“The Obama Administration has acted on our shared belief that investing in high-speed rail can bring jobs and economic stability to many communities throughout the nation, including West Virginia,” said Chairman Rockefeller. “A first class passenger rail network must start with a strong national commitment to its success, and this $8 billion in stimulus funding is just the beginning of making high-speed rail a priority and a reality. I believe—and I know—that a better passenger rail system offers a real solution to the energy, environmental and congestion problems we face and is a productive first step toward building on America’s job growth—this is a great way to invest in our nation’s future.”


The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 included $8 billion for the intercity passenger rail, high-speed rail, and congestion grant programs created in the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. President Obama released his Vision for High-Speed Rail in America in April 2009, which details his commitment to making passenger rail a more vibrant part of the nation’s transportation landscape and his plan for making it a reality. The grants awarded today were funded as part of the $8 billion made available under ARRA.

Earlier this year, Senators Rockefeller and Lautenberg introduced S. 1036, the “Federal Surface Transportation Policy and Planning Act of 2009.” S. 1036 would establish a national surface transportation policy and overall goals and objectives for the performance of the system. These objectives and goals focus on correcting current problems that plague the system, such as congestion, and preparing the system to accommodate future needs. They recognize that decisions about how to build our surface transportation system affect the ability of people and goods to connect with one another, the safety and health of the public, environmental protection, energy conservation, land use and development, economic development, and job creation, amongst other issues.