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Statement of Serena Unrein, Public Interest Advocate for the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, on Vice President Joseph Biden and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s announcement that the administration plans to invest $53 billion over the next six years in high-speed rail:
“With the population in Arizona and the rest of the country expected to grow significantly over the next 25 years, and with our urgent need to reduce our consumption of oil, we applaud the President and his administration for this bold, new vision for the future.
“The President’s plan to push for more than $50 billion in high speed rail in the next transportation bill shows a commitment to improving our country’s transportation network and competitiveness in the global marketplace.
“While some in Congress have suggested cutting back on new transit and rail projects, the President’s decision to include $8 billion for high-speed rail in his 2012 budget request is exactly the type of investment that is needed to create jobs and jumpstart the economy.
“Recognizing the economic importance of high-speed rail for Arizona, last October the federal government announced a $500,000 grant to study linking Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas through high-speed rail.
“In another exciting step for Arizona, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is in the process of finalizing plans to connect Phoenix and Tucson through passenger rail. Federal investments in high-speed rail can help states like Arizona that want to build and expand passenger rail.
“The future of transportation, with high-speed rail, less reliance on automobiles and a better state of repair won’t happen without strong vision and leadership. We’re glad that Arizona’s leaders and the President are moving us in the right direction.”
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