NEWS RELEASE: High-Speed Rail Supporters React to Grant Award News

December 8, 2023

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Following the announcement earlier this week of nearly $3.1 billion from the Biden administration, the largest federal grant award received to date by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, elected officials and industry leaders applauded the news. Here are some of their statements on this historic milestone for the project:

Federal Elected Officials 

“California takes great pride in our ambitious status as the leading edge of high-speed rail in America. With this new $3.07 billion in federal funding, we take an important leap closer to making high-speed rail a reality in California. An electrified high-speed rail network will dramatically improve the quality of life in the Central Valley and up and down California. These bullet trains will make travel quicker and easier, bring housing closer, create new jobs and economic opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach, secure cleaner air for our children and help save our planet. Thank you to President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg for their recognition of the importance of high-speed rail to California and to our Nation.” Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi   

“I am proud to champion this historic federal investment for California High-Speed Rail. California has never been afraid to take on big and bold challenges — including the development of the nation’s first true high-speed rail network. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and President Biden’s leadership, California has a partner in this effort to power our economy, reduce emissions, and connect our communities through high-speed rail.” U.S. Senator Alex Padilla 

“High-speed rail will make travel easier and quicker, generate thousands of good-paying jobs, [and] create cleaner air. Thank you to President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg for their commitment to high-speed rail.” U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler 

“For decades, I’ve worked to make California’s high-speed rail system a reality. Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I helped pass; we now have significant investment to make major progress. I worked to secure this $3.1 billion federal grant to ensure continued economic growth and investments in California’s San Joaquin Valley. I want to thank President Biden, Governor Newsom, and our partners. We still have much more work to be done.” Rep. Jim Costa (CA-21) 

“Proud to have helped secure $6 billion for high-speed rail in California. It marks a huge milestone for our infrastructure and economy. These new projects will revolutionize transportation to and from LA, all while supporting local union labor.” Rep Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) 

California Elected Officials 

“California is delivering on the first 220-mph, electric high-speed rail project in the nation. This show of support from the Biden-Harris Administration is a vote of confidence in today’s vision and comes at a critical turning point, providing the project new momentum.” Governor Gavin Newsom 

“This is not just an investment in high-speed rail, it’s an investment in jobs, the climate and our future. This project is proof that America can still do—and build—big things.” Former Governor Jerry Brown 

“I commend the recent announcement of over $3 billion in federal funding toward the continued progress of the inaugural operating segment of California’s high-speed rail project. I am grateful to President Biden and Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg for reaffirming the federal government’s commitment to this project and acknowledging the significance of completing the Merced to Bakersfield segment, as prioritized by the Legislature.” State Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-District 33) 

“California is receiving $6 BILLION in new federal infrastructure funding for rail projects. That means more connected communities, greener transportation, good jobs and faster, safer transit.” State Sen. Mike McGuire (D-District 2) 

“California thanks the Biden Administration for their partnership in helping to deliver the first high-speed rail system in the nation. An award of this magnitude will get us there faster with high paying jobs.” State Sen. María Elena Durazo (D-District 26) 

“The $3.1 billion investment from the Biden-Harris Administration for California’s high-speed rail marks a transformative commitment to innovation, connectivity and sustainable infrastructure for a brighter future. This is more than just an investment in transportation; it’s a lifeline for the Central Valley—bridging unconnected communities, fostering agricultural growth, and propelling California to a more connected and prosperous future. The infusion of such a significant financial resource will undoubtedly have a transformative impact on the California High-Speed Rail project, as well as the communities it serves. This milestone is a testament to our collective efforts and I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to everyone involved. I applaud the High-Speed Rail Authority’s commitment to utilize this grant to its fullest potential, which will drive progress, and make a lasting impact on transportation, economic growth, and the prosperity in our region. Together, we can shape a better future for California.” State Sen. Anna Caballero (D-District 14) 

“I’m excited that the state recently received a $3.1 billion grant from the federal government for the California High-Speed Rail project.  As Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, I look forward to working on securing the federal government as an ongoing funding partner for high-speed rail, similar to the partnership in place when the country’s national highway system was built. Under the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, the federal government supplied 90 percent of funding for interstate highways, with the state paying the remaining 10 percent.” State Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City)

“I’m thrilled that the Biden administration has made this historic investment in the nation’s first high-speed rail project that will run through Fresno and the heart of California and include building a high-speed rail station in downtown Fresno. This investment combined with the $250 million in State funds that I helped secure this year for downtown Fresno will go a long way to propel Fresno’s economic development and a brighter, cleaner future for our Valley.” State Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) 

“I’m all aboard for the $3B investment into the California High-Speed Rail Authority! Very grateful of the leadership of Senator Alex Padilla and the Biden Administration for infusing CA with a total of $6 billion for high-speed rail. That much closer to catching up with our peers in Asia and Europe.” State Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-District 24) 

“This grant money—totaling nearly $3.1 billion—is imperative for the High-Speed Rail project’s overall success, but in particular, is critical to the City of Fresno. Part of the money will go toward building our high-speed rail station—the nation’s first. This landmark building will make a statement to rail passengers and will be the centerpiece of our downtown revitalization efforts, which are central to my One Fresno vision. Thanks to an additional $250 million in funds committed by the state for downtown infrastructure, this station will be in proximity to thousands of new housing units, as well as commercial and entertainment options that will help in our city core’s rebirth.” Jerry Dyer, Mayor, City of Fresno 

“Investment in California High-Speed Rail is an investment for the city of Merced. We are excited to look to the future and see what high-speed rail and the future Merced Station will bring to our growing city and the connections it will bring residents to the rest of the state.” Matt Serratto, Mayor, City of Merced

National Transportation Partners 

“The dream of American high-speed rail is about to become reality. We greatly appreciate the commitment of the Biden Administration, our Coalition members and many others who have worked hard to spark America’s high-speed rail revolution.” Ray LaHood, Former U.S. Transportation Secretary and Co-Chair of the U.S. High Speed Rail Coalition 

“The tide has turned for high-speed rail in America. Electrified bullet trains will transform the nation’s transportation system—reducing congestion, helping end our dependency on fossil fuels and advancing the fight against climate change. This investment by the Biden Administration represents a milestone in advancing our progress and making us competitive with the 26 nations that currently have fast, clean and safe high-speed trains.” Andy Kunz, President and CEO, U.S. High-Speed Rail 

“APTA applauds the Federal Railroad Administration for the announcement of new grants that invest in the modernization, improvement and expansion of intercity and passenger rail across the country. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments of today provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help our communities meet growing mobility demands, create family-wage jobs, expand U.S. manufacturing and supply chains, and grow the economy.” American Public Transportation Association  

“This is a huge day for train passengers in the U.S., and we want to thank the Biden-Harris Administration for delivering on the promise of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This is just one of many passenger rail corridors that will benefit from this funding. But Americans are ready to ride a word-class rail system now, and so we’re grateful to California for leading the way.” Jim Mathews, President, Rail Passengers Association  

“The Federal/State partnership award to California High-Speed Rail represents a capstone to a year of major accomplishments for the project. It also validates the vision and hard work over the decades by civic leaders, legislators, California Governors, Authority staff, construction workers and transportation advocates in developing the project. The award also moves California High-Speed Rail toward a demonstration service that will allow Californians an opportunity to experience first-hand the benefits of a new mode of transportation—faster than driving and more convenient and civilized than flying.” Steve Roberts, President, Rail Passenger Association of California and Nevada 

“California has the best transportation plan in the country, because it integrates a high-speed backbone with a comprehensive transit system. That makes this a transformational investment in the future of American cities, towns, and communities.” Rick Harnish, Executive Director, High-Speed Rail Alliance 

Labor and Jobs Leadership 

“As America’s largest transportation labor federation, we have proudly supported the California High-Speed Rail Project for many years. This monumental project will deliver the nation’s first true high-speed rail system while putting skilled union members to work. With this historic $3.1 billion federal grant, President Biden is upholding his promise to bring forth a modern era of passenger rail transportation in our nation.” Greg Regan, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

“We applaud the commitment of $3.1 billion in federal funds to support CA high-speed rail. California was courageous to be the first to embark on a major high-speed rail project. In doing so, it has not just been building a rail line, but building a program made up of apprenticeships, training, and thousands of good paying jobs which will maintain this rail system well into the future. Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWED) is proud of our partnership with CAHSR, and there is no greater workforce then BMWED Members to maintain this infrastructure.” Tony Cardwell, President, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes

“High-speed rail is going to make California the only state in America to provide this service. The benefits will move the people who move the world.” Dean Devita, President, National Conference of Firemen & Oilers District of Local 32BJ/SEIU

“California’s union construction workers applaud the critical federal investment into our high-speed rail project. This is a real testament to the collective vision and dedication of our nation’s leaders to modernize our state’s transportation system. This robust support from the Biden-Harris Administration builds on the project’s success to connect our communities while promoting thousands of good-paying, stable, union construction jobs that are important pathways to the middle class, uplifting all of our local economies. Thank you to President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, Governor Newsom, the Authority, and our partners for your work and commitment to advancing transportation infrastructure in the state of California.” Chris Hannan, President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California 

“This federal investment in the California High-Speed Rail project will bring more and better jobs to Central Valley residents. We are proud of our continued partnership with the Authority and look forward to training the future workforce who will help build a greener and sustainable mode of transportation.” Chuck Riojas, Financial Secretary/Treasurer, Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties Building Trades Council 

“The Operating Engineers applaud the Biden-Harris administration for their steadfast support of California’s High-Speed Rail Project. The project to date has created over 12,000 high-quality construction jobs and has ensured life changing apprenticeship opportunities that have uplifted workers across the central valley. We are thrilled with the additional federal investment of nearly 3.1 billion dollars that will ensure this transformative project continues to move forward at a rapid pace while ensuring workers are not left behind.” Matt Cremins, Western Region Political Director, International Union of Operating Engineers  

“The awarding of nearly 3.1 billion to fund construction of a high-speed rail network in California will create tens of thousands of jobs across the state and bring us closer to the reality of an operational system that will make good on the promise made in 2008 with the passage of Prop 1A.” Michael Quigley, Executive Director, California Alliance for Jobs 

“At Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure (“iyai+”), we’re excited and want to commend the Authority’s exceptional work with youth across ALL of our communities! Their work is helping to support career awareness, diversity and a ‘future-ready’ workforce.” Beverly Scott, Founder, Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure+

Transportation Leaders 

“High speed rail will transform our state and provide Californians with a clean, efficient, and fast alternative to car and air travel. I would like to congratulate Governor Newsom and the California High Speed Rail Authority for securing valuable federal funds for this project. We look forward to continuing or collaboration with the Authority to advance our shared goal of improving intercity mobility and building a more environmentally sustainable California.” Stephanie Wiggins, Chief Executive Officer, LA Metro 

“California deserves a quality, sustainable transportation system and high-speed rail is the backbone of that future. This huge federal boost is the commitment the project needs to succeed. Congratulations to the California High-Speed Rail Authority on such a transformative win!” Kiana Valentine, Executive Director, Transportation California

“DB is immensely thrilled about the substantial federal funding awarded to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. This pivotal investment aligns perfectly with our commitment as the Early Train Operator, leveraging our extensive experience in high-speed rail to bring world-class service and design to this groundbreaking project. The funding not only accelerates progress but also echoes our shared vision for a cleaner, more connected future in high-speed travel.” Deutsche Bahn ECO Group 

“This has been an effort that has been a long time coming and I need to commend the Authority staff and CEO and also thank Governor Newsom who has been out there tirelessly pushing this project forward. I just recently returned from a trip abroad and I can tell you the demand for high-speed rail where it is
operating is growing. It’s clear that the world wants high-speed rail and California is going to be the first to deliver in the United States.” Keith Dunn, Association for High-Speed Trains 

Regional Partners 

“As President/CEO of the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation, I applaud this historic $3.1 billion investment made possible by the Biden Administration for California High-Speed Rail. This transformative funding is not just about rail infrastructure; it serves as jet fuel for Fresno County’s economy, positioning our region for skilled good paying jobs and sustained growth.” Will Oliver, President/CEO, Fresno County Economic Development Corporation 

“This consequential investment promotes the economic vitality of our region and cements us as an essential area that is fundamental to the future of California and our nation. This consequential investment in high-speed rail represents more jobs for our Valley families. I’m very pleased that our talented Fresno State students will contribute to and participate in a wide range of educational and economic opportunities.” Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, President, Fresno State University 

“We are thrilled to witness the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s monumental achievement in securing $3.1 billion in federal funding, marking their largest grant to date. The Fresno State Transportation Institute (FSTI) is proud to have played a pivotal role through ongoing support. This historic investment does not only propel the high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield, but also provides transformative opportunities for our region, our students, our economy, and our future.” Dr. Aly Tawfik, Fresno State Transportation Institution  

“The Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) celebrates the Biden Administration’s continued support and investment in clean, efficient and accessible high-speed rail. We are a proud partner and recognize the significance of the Authority’s historic $3.1 Billion federal grant. At the core of our mission is improving the mobility of people, and high-speed rail is a vital part of achieving that vision in the U.S.” Karen E. Philbrick, PhD, Executive Director, Mineta Transportation Institute  

“I am thrilled to hear about this significant federal investment in the California high-speed rail. I have been taking students to see construction progress at high-speed rail sites for the last five or six years—both as a former faculty member at Fresno City College and now at Cal Poly, SLO. The opportunities in civil infrastructure and construction education are unparalleled —not only in technical scope but in its societal impact. It is very exciting to witness the continued progress and to help students see what is possible in their careers.” Elizabeth Adams, PhD, PE, Assistant Professor, Construction Management College of Architecture & Environmental Design Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo 

“The $3.073 billion grant for design and construction of California high-speed rail’s Fresno train station and other early works projects will help the students of Fresno State and the other universities of the Central Valley get started strongly in their engineering and construction careers. These California High-Speed Rail projects provide work experiences with cutting edge technologies that really deliver a competitive advantage that helps California’s students to succeed.” John Gregory Green, PhD, PE, Lecturer, Department of Civil & Geomatics Engineering California State University, Fresno 

“As a preeminent museum of railroading in the Western United States, we believe in looking towards the future of railroading, in addition to sharing stories about the past. The California High-Speed Rail Authority has been an enthusiastic partner in our pursuit of that goal.” Ty O. Smith, PhD, Museum Director, California State Railroad Museum

“As a children’s museum, Kids Discovery Station is focused on inspiring and engaging children of our community. Showing kids the possibilities and opportunities offered by a high-speed rail project in California gives us a great chance to do so. Through the partnership with the Authority, Kids Discovery Station is able to showcase the future of transportation, the technology, the job market implications and bring the excitement of new horizons to the new generation which will benefit from this project. We are excited about this grant and looking forward to working with HSRA on sharing this future with the children and families of our community.” Dr. Mayya Tokeman, Executive Director, Kids Discovery Station Merced Museum 

Small Business Owners 

“The High-Speed Rail Authority’s Small Business Program provides countless opportunities and innovation for small businesses like ours. The $3.1 billion by the Biden administration for the electrified rail system is not just a testament to the Authority’s excellence. We are proud to be part of this journey towards a groundbreaking electrified rail system that will revolutionize travel and boost economic growth nationwide.” Omar E. Hernandez, President and CEO, Global Urban Strategies, Inc. 

“… We’ve been impressed with the work of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, their stewardship of public funds, and their genuine commitment to equitable and inclusive outcomes for everyone. Congratulations to the Authority for receiving a $3.1 billion award through the Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail to advance this project in accordance with the goals and hopes of Californians!  We’re proud of our collaborative work with the Authority to help make sure communities have access to the information they need and the voices of Californians are amplified as high-speed rail moves forward.” Joey Goldman, Principal/Partner, Kearns & West, Inc.

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