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Cardoza Testifies before House Committee on Benefits of High Speed Rail - 12/15/2011

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Uploaded on Dec 15, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressman Cardoza (D-Merced) testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of California's ongoing High Speed Rail project.

"In both our nation's and in California's history, tough times have led to bold and innovative solutions," said Congressman Cardoza. "The opportunity presented by California High Speed Rail is a continuation of this legacy of visionary leadership."

Congressman Cardoza focused his comments on the economic benefits high speed rail would offer the Central Valley, which has been plagued by high unemployment rates.

Congressman Cardoza said, "The people I represent in the San Joaquin Valley are in a dire economic situation. The latest reported unemployment in three of the cities in my District ranges from 15 to 17 percent, nearly twice the national unemployment rate. Crime has increased and jobs are scarce."

He continued, "The economic analysis of this project shows that construction of the initial segment will generate nearly 100,000 jobs. The people I represent desperately need these jobs, the jobs that will be generated as the system becomes operational, and the spin-off of economic activity associated with the project. Furthermore, the San Joaquin Valley desperately needs to be connected to the other major areas of the state in order to realize greater economic, cultural and educational opportunities."

Since much of the concern about the high speed rail project has centered around the cost to taxpayers, Congressman Cardoza noted, "From a practical standpoint, if we don't construct high speed rail, in order to meet our state's needs, we would need to construct 2,300 new miles of highway, 115 new airport gates, and 4 new runways -- all at a projected cost of more than $170 billion. While costly, there have been no cost projections for the California High Speed Rail system that have come anywhere close to $170 billion."

In addition, Congressman Cardoza stated that air quality would improve by reducing the number of cars and trucks on the road and it would provide a clear vehicle for economic investment into communities along the rail route.

Congressman Cardoza also expressed that in a public meeting recently held by the California High Speed Rail Authority in Merced, more than 90% of those in attendance spoke in favor of the project.

Congressman Cardoza concluded his testimony, "The Authority still has a long way to go in the development of the project, but if their handling of the preferred route for the Merced-Fresno segment is any indication, the Authority has the capability of working with local communities to address their concerns."

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