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Remarks at Annoucement of $520 Million Recovery Act Grant for North Carolina High-Speed Rail

January 28, 2010
Remarks at Annoucement of $520 Million Recovery Act Grant for North Carolina High-Speed Rail

By Congressman David Price -

On January 28, 2010, Congressman David Price joined EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to announce over $520 million in funding for North Carolina's High-Speed Rail Cooridor. The investment will create jobs and help modernize North Carolina's rail system by bringing rail speeds up.

The text of the Congressman's remarks is below:

Administrator Jackson of the EPA, thank you so much for coming to the Triangle to share this exciting news with us.

We've been waiting nearly 20 years for this day. As some in this crowd probably remember, Congress designated the Southeast High Speed Rail corridor just about twenty years ago. But like many honors, this one did not come with much in the way of prize money. Over most of the last two decades, the federal investment in this or any other high-speed rail corridor has been very, very modest.

That changed with President Obama, who made a major investment in high speed rail one of his top priorities for the Recovery Act. With his leadership, Congress approved an $8 billion commitment to developing high-speed rail throughout the country – and suddenly, all the hard work our state had done on its own could come to fruition.

Our state effort, which had significant business and community support across the Triangle, benefitted when Governor Jim Hunt set a challenge: Achieve two-hour train service from Raleigh to Charlotte. He knew that would make the train a viable alternative to air or automobile travel, particularly for business travelers. We aren't quite there yet, but we've come a long way. The last time I was in this station was last month, when I took the train to Charlotte to participate in a conference. I got a bit more than I bargained for because the train I took from Durham also turned out to be the Santa Train, filled to capacity and sold out since September! So we had a great time, and the train is already the best way to get to Charlotte.

The funding we're announcing today will reward the investment we've made and take us the rest of the way, doubling train service between the two cities at speeds of 90 mph. In the process, it will further what must be our highest priority in Congress, and one that I know is shared by Governor Perdue and everyone present today: put North Carolinians back to work.

Let me take a moment to put this investment into perspective:

• North Carolina is one of only 7 states receiving corridor development funding today. We are part of an elite group, and we are here because of visionary leadership and perseverance.

• And the level of funding - half a billion dollars – is roughly equivalent to the amount of money our state gets every year from the Federal Highway Trust Fund.

We still have a ways to go to complete the corridor and take it all the way to Washington, DC, and I look forward to working with President Obama to make it happen. But I believe we will look back on this investment as the turning point for the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor. You might say that for the last 20 years, North Carolina has been the little engine that could, and today, we know we can!

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