U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reemphasized President Obama's focus on high-speed rail in the United States in his blog, Fast Lane.
LaHood referenced eight projects currently underway and Amtrak’s Chicago-Kalamazoo route that recently added the first 110-miles-per-hour service outside the Northeast Corridor.
“High-speed rail remains a major priority for President Obama and Vice President Biden,” Lahood wrote in his blog. “In fact, the president’s vision for an America built to last, the budget he proposed last month, would provide 2.5 billion in 2013 as part of a $47 billion, six-year investment to continue construction of a 21st century high-speed passenger rail network.”
LaHood pointed out that companies are already investing in high-speed rail and are are leading the recovery in the manufacturing sector. He noted Progress Rail in Muncie, Ind., which recently opened a brand new 700,000 square foot factory and is on track to hire 300 new workers.
Progress Rail isn’t the only company experiencing success, he says. According to LaHood, to date, 30 rail companies from around the world have pledged that, if selected for high-speed rail contracts, they’ll hire American workers and expand their bases of operations in the United States.
“At the end of the day, that is what President Obama’s plan for high-speed rail is all about, and I am thrilled that there are American businesses and American leaders who are working to make it happen,” he wrote. “Together, our legacy will be more than trains, tracks and ties – it will be an America built to last.”