FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, US TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY PETERS AND REPRESENTATIVES MALONEY, MICA, AND CASTLE ANNOUNCE NEXT STEP IN HIGH-SPEED RAIL
US DOT Seeks Two-Hour Door-To-Door Service Between Washington and New York
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Mary E. Peters and Representative John L. Mica of Florida, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republican Leader, today announced that the DOT has for the first time requested private sector participation in the design, finance, construction, operation and maintenance of high-speed rail service between New York and Washington, DC and ten other corridors around the country. At the announcement, held at New York Penn Station, the Mayor, Secretary and Representative were joined by New York Representative Carolyn Maloney and Delaware Representative Mike Castle, the Passenger Rail Caucus Co-Chairman and former Delaware Governor.
"If the U.S. is to remain economically competitive, we must develop high-speed transportation service for our great cities, just as other countries are doing for theirs," said Mayor Bloomberg. "A high-speed train serving the Northeast Corridor is the kind of far-sighted project that we need, and completely consistent with New York City's own transportation goals. It would also relieve our congested roadways and airports - problems that Secretary Peters and I have long worked on together - and greatly increase our economic productivity. It would also reduce pollution and the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming - a major focus of our city's PlaNYC sustainability agenda."
"This is the most exciting development in U.S. passenger rail in years," said Representative Mica. "High-speed rail is an efficient, effective and environmentally friendly method of transportation, and a much-needed alternative to our congested highways and airspace. High-speed rail is a proven success in nations across Europe and Asia. Even countries such as Iran and Vietnam are developing high-speed rail systems for their people, yet the United States lacks a single true high-speed rail route. It's time to move forward into the 21st century of transportation and revolutionize the way in which we move people in this nation."
"This year, Amtrak carried nearly 11 million passengers on its Northeast Corridor system," Representative Castle said. "The way I see it, this is 11 million travelers who are off our roadways and not clogging intersections, backing up tolls, and polluting the air in Delaware. For this reason, I have worked hard to set forth the policies and funding necessary to make a real investment in high-speed rail along the Northeast Corridor. This is exactly the type of forward-looking proposal that we should be talking about to improve our infrastructure, spur job creation, and generate long-term economic growth for our country."
"Americans need new ways of traveling between major cities, and a properly structured intercity passenger rail system can and must play a larger role in our nation's transportation future," said Transportation Secretary Peters.
The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 was signed into law on October 16, 2008, and provides a framework for DOT to move the high-speed initiative forward. Representative Mica helped author the law. The public and private sector is invited to submit a proposal to develop high-speed service in 11 federally-designated corridors, including two-hour door-to-door service in the heavily congested Northeast Corridor between Washington, DC and New York City
The 11 federally-designated high-speed corridors are:
Proposals must be submitted to US DOT by September 2009, and US DOT will then establish commissions of stakeholders - including governors, mayors, labor, Amtrak, and freight and commuter railroads - to evaluate the proposals for each corridor. By April 2010, US DOT will evaluate the Commissions' recommendations and submit its own recommendations to Congress, beginning with proposals for the Washington, DC-to-New York corridor.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Sarah Echols (US DOT) (202) 366-4570
Justin Harclerode (Rep. Mica) (202) 226-8767
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