U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, key members of the Nevada labor community, business leaders and other elected officials, announced today an agreement between the states of California and Nevada to extend the California High-Speed Rail corridor from the Los Angeles area to the Las Vegas.
“The extension of the California corridor is another great example of regional cooperation, which will be critical to transforming travel in America and the creation of a national system of high-speed rail lines,” said Secretary LaHood. “We will continue to encourage new and innovative partnerships like this one. We believe that the development of regional high-speed passenger rail systems will create jobs, spur economic development, and provide positive environmental benefits for all Americans.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid praised the potential benefits of the Nevada-California cooperation. “Today we’ve taken a giant step towards strengthening Nevada’s economy,” Majority Leader Reid said. “High-speed rail not only provides a much needed means of transportation that will reduce congestion on I-15, but it will create jobs at a time when Nevada needs them the most, increase tourism and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.”
In April, President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary LaHood announced the effort to transform the nation’s transportation system by developing rail infrastructure and launching high-speed passenger rail services in 100-600 mile corridors that connect U.S. communities.
The Obama Administration is moving fast to put in place this ambitious and important agenda. Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which included an $8 billion High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) highly-competitive grant program. The President has proposed a continuing $1 billion annual investment in high-speed rail.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a strategic plan for high-speed rail and recently announced guidelines for states and groups of states to apply for the economic recovery funds. DOT expects to announce the first round of merit-based grants in the fall.