Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi, a Lead Champion for High Speed Rail in California, Praises DOT Decision to Redirect HSR Funds to California after Two States Reject Money for Jobs and Infrastructure

December 9, 2010
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), who as a state legislator authored the first legislation to advance high speed rail in California, today praised Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s decision to redirect up to $624 million in high speed rail money to California. $1.195 billion was originally allocated to Wisconsin and Ohio, but their new governors rejected the money, so it was redistributed to states more interested in investments in jobs and infrastructure.

In a letter sent to Secretary LaHood on November 18th, after Wisconsin and Ohio first rejected the money, Garamendi helped lead a coalition of California Democrats in encouraging the DOT to redirect the money to California.

"While I feel for the people of Wisconsin and Ohio who sincerely want investments in infrastructure and job creation, I am glad that California’s infant high speed rail program just got another boost," said Congressman Garamendi, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "When completed, the Golden State will have a state of the art high speed rail system from Sacramento and San Francisco, through the Central Valley, all the way down to Los Angeles and San Diego. It’ll revolutionize how Californians commute and travel and create hundreds of thousands of jobs along the way."

Prior to today’s announcement, California had already received more than $3 billion in money from the federal government for high speed rail.

"It’s great that Secretary LaHood insists that any trains and equipment purchased with this investment in California high speed rail must be made in America," said Garamendi, author of legislation that ends taxpayer subsidies for foreign produced transportation equipment. "Let’s use our federal tax dollars to invest in American infrastructure and manufacturing, creating American jobs. We must make it in America to make it in America. Manufacturing matters."

In 1989, then-State Senator Garamendi co-authored legislation (SB 1307 and AB 1856) with then-Assemblymember 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.