U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (both D-CA) and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) wrote to President Barack Obama on Monday in support of California's requests for high-speed and intercity rail funding through the Recovery Act.
"We write in strong support of California's applications for high-speed and intercity rail funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)," they wrote. "California has led the nation in its commitment to creating a statewide high-speed rail system.
"Our state has been a leader and innovator in addressing environmental and transportation challenges on a national level. Last November, California voters approved nearly $9 billion in state bonds for high-speed rail construction, far outpacing other states' efforts to secure local and state funding for these projects. California has completed design and planning for the nearly 800-mile system and made significant progress on the environmental review, making our state uniquely qualified to employ federal funding quickly.
"California's high-speed rail applications have broad support across the state, with backing from leading business, environmental and labor leaders. The California Chamber of Commerce, the Labor Federation of California and the Sierra Club have all endorsed California's applications for funding. The success of California's high-speed rail system is enormously important to our state. High-speed rail will help ease congestion and improve air quality. With unemployment in California reaching 12.5 percent – the highest unemployment rate in nearly 70 years – the impact of providing 130,000 construction-related jobs statewide cannot be understated.
"We appreciate your attention to the needs of California and thank you for your commitment to this important issue. We stand ready to work with your administration in the coming years to ensure that high-speed rail has the resources necessary to continue to be a national priority."