|12:58 PM EDT||
David E. Price, D-NC 4th
Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Chair, I rise today in opposition to the recision of funds from the high-speed rail program that was unwisely included in the fiscal year 2012 Energy and Water bill reported from the Appropriations Committee.
My home State of North Carolina has been working for many years to advance the Southeast High-Speed Rail Corridor from Charlotte to Raleigh and Richmond, and ultimately linking the southeastern States with Washington, D.C. and providing a connection to rail service in the Northeast.
Over the last 15 years, North Carolina has invested approximately $300 million in State intercity rail service capacity, including the construction of new train stations and track improvements. These strategic investments have already helped reduce travel time between Raleigh and Charlotte by 1 hour. But over the last two decades, the Federal investment in the Southeast or other high-speed rail corridors has been very, very modest. The burden fell almost completely on the States. In light of
the enormous capital investments needed, while our progress has been steady, it has also been very slow.
Madam Chair, this has been an area where President Obama has demonstrated strong leadership, making major Federal investment in high-speed rail one of his top priorities.
Competition for the billions of dollars allocated under the Recovery Act was intense, and ultimately funds were distributed to 31 States, with half a billion dollars awarded to North Carolina. These funds will help our State achieve a goal set long ago--2-hour train service from Raleigh to Charlotte--and I'm happy to report that work is already well underway. And we know what comes next: Raleigh to Richmond.
These planned rail investments will relieve congestion, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, make our neighborhoods more livable and environmentally sustainable, make our communities more attractive places to live and do business in the long term, and create well-paying construction and manufacturing jobs in the near term--20,000 jobs in North Carolina alone, as a matter of fact.
Rescission of these funds is penny-wise and pound-foolish. It undermines an infrastructure project that would create jobs and pay dividends for years and years in the future. If we want to stay competitive in the international economy, we cannot continue to lay behind countries like China in developing a 21st century infrastructure. Rather than cutting funds for high-speed rail, we should be investing further in a high-speed rail network that will enhance our Nation's overall transportation system,
moving us forward the way the highway system drove us forward in the mid 20th century.
Madam Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.