President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins
1021 O Street, Suite 8518
Sacramento, CA 95814
Speaker Anthony Rendon
State Capitol, Room 219
Sacramento, CA 95814
May 4, 2022
Subject: In support of the $4.2 bond appropriation for California High-Speed Rail
Dear President Pro Tempore Atkins and Speaker Rendon,
As the leading national coalition working to fund electrified high-speed rail projects, the U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition urges the California State Legislature to approve the $4.2 billion voter-approved bond appropriation for the California High-Speed Rail project included in Governor Newsom’s Fiscal Year 2022/2023 Budget.
The ongoing spike in gas prices shows that California voters were wise to vote in favor of Prop 1A in 2008. High-speed rail is how we break free from oil – as well as the enormous burdens it places on consumers, communities and the climate.
Fourteen years later, the majority of California voters continue to support the high-speed rail project. According to a new Los Angeles Times – Berkeley poll, 56% of registered voters in California want to continue building the high-speed rail project, including 73% of registered Democrats and 54% of Independents.
Beyond the Central Valley, where construction is underway, support for the project is strong. 59% of L.A. County voters support continued construction of the project – including 32% who strongly favor continued construction – while only 29% oppose it. And 65% of Bay Area voters support continued construction, while 27% oppose it.
As the Legislature reviews Governor Newsom’s budget request, the California High-Speed Rail Authority is competing for billions of dollars in competitive grant opportunities in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as well as billions more in the pending budget reconciliation bill, which includes $10 billion in dedicated funding for high-speed rail projects.
Approval of the $4.2 billion bond appropriation will signal continued support by the State of California, giving the Biden Administration an incentive to provide significant federal investments for the project. Approving these funds will also make it easier for our coalition to advocate for new federal funding for the California High-Speed Rail project.
Together, these state and federal investments will help expedite the completion of an initial operating segment while advancing construction on the project’s critical bookends in the Los Angeles Basin and the Bay Area.
While project costs continue to generate news, we must keep in mind that building the equivalent highway or aviation capacity would cost nearly twice as much as finishing the job on California’s high-speed rail project.
Meanwhile, The California High-Speed Rail Authority is moving beyond the issues of the past and making significant strides forward. The project has created 7,800 labor jobs, $5.2 billion in labor income and $13.7 billion in economic output. Daily construction jobs have tripled since 2018. 90% of the parcels needed for construction in the Central Valley have been purchased. And the Authority estimates the entire 500-mile system will be fully environmentally cleared by Fiscal Year 2023/24.
America’s effort to decarbonize transportation depends on the completion of the California High-Speed Rail project. Once the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco line is up and running, it will slash emissions by an average of 2 million metric tons annually – equivalent to saving 225 million gallons of gas and taking 432,000 cars off the road every single year.
To achieve sustainability, we need high-speed rail. There is no cheaper or better alternative to addressing the state’s transportation and oil dependency challenges. As a recent New York Times article stated, the California High-Speed Rail project is the most visible test of whether America can complete “the transformative projects necessary to confront 21st century challenges.”
We urge you to redouble support for this monumental effort and show the nation that America’s most advanced bullet train project is moving full speed ahead.
Secretary Anthony Foxx, Co-Chair, U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition
Secretary Ray LaHood, Co-Chair, U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition
Secretary Norman Mineta, Co-Chair, U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition
Rod Diridon, Co-Chair, U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition
Active San Gabriel Valley
American Council of Engineering Companies, California
Associated General Contractors of CA
Bay Area Council
Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen
Guadalupe River Park Conservancy
High Speed Rail Alliance
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)
Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)
National Conference of Firemen & Oilers 32BJ SEIU
Northern California Carpenters Union
Progressive Democrats of America
Rail Passengers Association
Railway Supply Institute
Rebuild SoCal Partnership
Safe Routes Partnership
Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Building & Construction Trades Council
Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Teamsters Rail Conference
Titan Freight Systems, Inc.
Transit Oriented Development Institute
U.S. High Speed Rail Association
About the U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition
The U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition mobilizes leading unions, businesses, and public servants to advocate for investments that will finally make high-speed rail a reality in America.
Former USDOT Secretaries Ray LaHood, Norman Mineta, and Anthony Foxx as well as California High Speed Rail Authority Chair Emeritus Rod Diridon serve as Co-Chairs of the Coalition’s Executive Committee.
Our Executive Committee members are ACI, AECOM, Arup, Brightline, Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen, Deutsche Banh, Grimshaw, HJI Group, HNTB, The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), Quandel Consultants, Renfe, National Conference of Firemen & Oilers 32BJ SEIU, Siemens, Stacy and Witbeck, Teamsters Rail Conference, Waterford Solutions Limited, and WSP.