|2:01 PM EDT||
Tim Ryan, D-OH 17th
Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Thank you.
This has been an interesting debate. I've been able to sit down here and listen to a lot of folks on both sides talk about really investments that we need to make in the United States. I'm glad that there are some investments that our friends on the other side actually think are important to the country, because it seems in many ways the national narrative is that there isn't anything the government can make investments in that is important for our country.
To hear some Members talk about natural disasters and to hear some Members talk about the barges going up and down and farmland, there's a huge subsidy program where billions of Federal dollars are spent to support farmers. There are obviously dams that need to be built, and that is Federal money. When it applies to certain Members' districts where they are actually affected and families affected, it's their responsibility to come to Washington, D.C., and advocate for those investments.
I think what you're seeing here on our side is that we have Members on this side of the aisle who believe that investments need to be made in our communities, too, and that over 30 years, if you take cities like Youngstown or Cleveland or Detroit, you will see cities that need investment. We may not have had a natural disaster, but over the last 30 years we have had an economic disaster where we have had a lack of private investment. I am rising here to say that high-speed rail can be a force
multiplier in our economic improvement in our community and across the country.
The gentleman from California just cited the number of jobs, the billions of dollars that could be invested. In Youngstown, Ohio, we would be linked up to a Pittsburgh to Cleveland corridor that would then go over to Toledo and Detroit and that would make its way over to Chicago. This is essentially connecting the United States of America.
You would be taking an economic region like ours with two major powerhouses in education and in health care that would be connected by high-speed rail. In Ohio, we gave away the high-speed rail money, too. Our Governor gave it away. And there were hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment that was going to follow the public investment that needs to be made. But if we're going to connect, if we're going to try to resuscitate some of these older areas in our country, high-speed rail
is a way to do it.
These are investments that can be made. We can connect the Cleveland Clinic with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. We can connect Case Western Reserve with Carnegie Mellon, and they can partner in research, get on the train, and help lead some economic development and commercialization of products. You could take a region of our country and connect it through high-speed rail.
The problem is--and I will end with this--all of these investments need to be made. This is the dirty little secret in Washington, D.C. We're only spending 2 percent of our GDP on our infrastructure, while China and India are spending 10 percent of their GDP reinvesting back into their country. We [Page: H5043]
will lose the future if we do not make these investments. These are critical to the competitiveness of the United States. The dams that need to be built and
the high-speed rail and the roads and the combined sewer and the airports and the ports and the highways and the bridges, we need to invest in all of these things.
Our country is crumbling. We can't have Members say, We only need to make this one investment for this one dam because it's in my district and because I know families who have been hurt. We've got to elevate ourselves and look at what needs to be done in the entirety of the whole country and how we are going to compete against China, how we are going to compete against India, how we are going to be globally competitive.
All of these investments need to be made, including the economic development and the private investment that can be drawn in through high-speed rail.
I yield back the balance of my time.