Politics

Coming Soon: High-Speed Rail and 750,000 New Jobs

| by AFL-CIO

In the near future, we will be able to travel what is now a seven-hour trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just two-and-a-half hours in a high-speed train that eliminates the hassle of traffic and adds fewer emissions to pollute the atmosphere.

In a new video (left) from the Electrical Workers (IBEW), Bill Bohné, director of the union’s Rail Department, says the plan to build a high-speed rail system in California is good for the economy. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger estimates the high-speed system will generate 600,000 construction and utility jobs and 150,000 permanent railway jobs.

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Bohné says this is the right time for a move to high-speed rail:

High-speed rail will change transportation in this country in the 21st century the way the interstate highway system changed it in the 20th century. This couldn’t have come at a better time, especially with this economic downturn. 

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In January, President Obama announced a plan to spend $8 billion for 13 high-speed rail projects. California will receive $2.34 billion, the largest award, to help set up a high-speed line between San Diego and Sacramento by 2026. Top speeds on the line would hit 220 miles per hour. State officials say they need high-speed rail to lessen the load on the state’s roads and airports.

Europe, Russia and China already have high-speed rails systems and the United States needs to catch up, Bohné says.