California has always been a state of visionaries and risk-takers. From Silicon Valley to Hollywood and everywhere in between, creative and innovative thinkers have taken risks to develop new products, new industries and new inventions. Investment by the public in the state’s highways, bridges, universities and skilled workforce has allowed visionaries to make their dreams a reality.
Today, California continues our proud tradition as a leader in both vision and investment. Leaders from labor, business and government gathered in Fresno to break ground on the most ambitious public works project in the country—high-speed rail. California’s 500-mile high speed rail system will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles with the spine built in the Central Valley.
Why is high-speed rail so important to the future of California? Large-scale investment in infrastructure creates thousands of good jobs that build the middle class. The economic benefits also benefit small business, as already 200- small businesses are working on the project.
Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation:
In California, we don't just talk about big ideas. We make them reality. With today's groundbreaking, California's job-creating high-speed rail project takes a giant leap forward, bringing along with it the promise and vision that's part of the fabric of our great state.
In the short term, this groundbreaking means thousands of family supporting jobs for California workers. Over the long-term, high-speed rail will transform our state's transportation infrastructure, easing traffic, sustaining our environment and supporting communities and businesses along the route.
High-speed rail also prepares California for future population growth and economic expansion. The Central Valley is one of the fastest growing regions in the state, and one of the most economically depressed with high unemployment. High-speed rail not only brings jobs to the region, but it will bring a fast, reliable transportation system as the Valley expands and absorbs the state’s population growth.
As naysayers question the cost of building high-speed rail, we must ask them; what is the alternative? The cost to the state of inaction is much greater than the cost of the project itself. The state would have to invest over $150 billion from the general fund or bonds to build the 4,300 new-lane miles of highway, 115 additional gates at airports and numerous runways that will be needed to address population growth in the state.
High-speed rail will clear up traffic on our already-congested roadways, clean up the air in polluted Central Valley cities and create hundreds of thousands of good jobs. It will make California a better place to live, work and raise a family.
That is the future of California with high-speed rail.