The national nonprofit High Speed Rail Alliance (HSRA) kicked off a week of action preceding Earth Day focusing on the work being done in California for high-speed rail and its climate impact.
California is not on track to meet the state’s 2030 goals for greenhouse gas emissions, and building out high-speed rail infrastructure in the state is critical for taking cars off the roads and changing travel patterns for a sustainable, green future.
“As youth climate leaders, we understand the incredible urgency of taking action to protect our climate and our future. High-speed rail is a key part of fighting the climate crisis by moving to sustainable modes of transportation,” stated Monica Mallon, youth leader of the Transit Team of Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action.
HSRA is calling on elected officials, environmental justice organizations and voters of California to make their voices heard, and asks Californians, as Earth Day 2021 approaches, to focus on tangible actions to help the state reach targeted greenhouse gas reductions by 2030.
“Completing the first segment of high-speed rail is the single most important thing that California is doing to meet its ambitious climate goals,” stated Rod Diridon, former Santa Clara County Supervisor and retired Executive Director Emeritus of the Mineta Transportation Institute.
The first segment of high-speed rail is already under construction in California’s Central Valley—from Bakersfield to Merced. Soon, the state legislature will vote to approve the remaining $4.2 billion from Prop 1A bond funds to complete the first segment of true high-speed rail—220 mph—in the U.S. Without approval of this appropriation by the legislature, high-speed rail in California stops, and all the work and investment that has already been made in this infrastructure and the jobs created from it thus far will be squandered.
“Given the climate crisis and future needs of our state, I hope our legislature moves forward with high-speed rail in California by approving the remaining funding for its first segment,” said Assembly Member David Chiu (D-San Francisco). “The voters asked for it, and they deserve it, and there is no better way to get the trains going between San Francisco and Los Angeles than by finishing the backbone. This vision and promise to Californians are now long overdue.”