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February 22, 2011 > Florida surrenders billions in federal high speed rail funds

Florida surrenders billions in federal high speed rail funds

Submitted By Donald Lathbury

Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), who as a state legislator in the 1980s authored the first high speed rail (HSR) law in California, responded on February 16, 2011, to Florida Governor Rick Scott's decision to give up $2.4 billion in federal high speed rail money, costing Florida a proven transit system and thousands of jobs.

"It's a cloudy day in the Sunshine State for the millions of Floridians who truly want to see jobs created in their state but Florida's deep loss is likely to be California's tremendous gain," said Garamendi. "When the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin surrendered their federal high speed rail money, destroying thousands of jobs in their respective states, President Obama and Transportation Secretary LaHood shifted much of their money to California. I encourage the Administration to do the same with Florida's previously allocated $2.4 billion."

"Planning and construction of California's high speed rail system is already underway, creating good jobs in the Golden State. We're prepared to show the rest of the country what a modern transportation network looks like and will gladly invest every penny the federal government is willing to provide," added Garamendi.

To date, California has been awarded about $4 billion for high speed rail. Once completed, California's high speed rail network will run from Sacramento and the San Francisco-Bay Area south through the Central Valley to Los Angeles and San Diego.

In 1989, then-State Senator Garamendi co-authored legislation (SB 1307 and AB 1856) with then-Assemblyman Jim Costa (now also a Congressman) to launch high speed rail service in California. Their legislation, nearly 20 years later, culminated in the $10 billion high speed rail bond approved by the California electorate in November 2008. This bond is the primary reason why California has by far received more federal HSR money than any other state.

For more information, visit www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov

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