Countdown to DesertXpress begins

With US Senator Harry Reid and Nevada Department of Transportation Director Susan Martinovich

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)–States and regions across the country are working tirelessly to realize President Obama’s vision for American high-speed rail.  And on Friday, I had the pleasure of joining Nevada Senator Harry Reid to announce that construction on the DesertXpress corridor between Las Vegas and Southern California will soon get underway.

The DesertXpress project cleared a major hurdle last Friday when the Federal Railroad Administration released its final environmental impact statement.

DesertXpress promises travel times of 85 minutes between Victorville, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.  This cuts the existing drive–three hours under the best conditions and nearly twice as long in traffic–in half.  Sitting in congestion for four, five and even six hours along I-15 is especially brutal for travelers paying sky high gas prices.

But high-speed rail means much more than a shorter trip from California to Las Vegas.  It means jobs, and it means reinvigorated American manufacturing.

Already, 30 rail companies from around the world have pledged that, if they’re selected for high-speed rail contracts, they will hire American workers and expand their bases of operations in the United States.  And the administration’s 100 percent “Buy America” requirement will generate a powerful ripple effect throughout the supply chain.

Just think about the possibility.  Factory workers building electric-powered trains.  Engineers laying new track.  Conductors, operators and ticket-takers helping passengers speed to their destinations.  Americans of every trade advancing down the track to a better future.

With US Senator Harry Reid and Nevada Department of Transportation Director Susan Martinovich

And those are just the direct ripple-effects.  High-speed rail also means economic development.  As Nevada Senator Harry Reid said:

“This announcement brings us one small step away from tens of thousands of new jobs not only through the project’s construction, but by boosting our tourism.  This line will connect tourists from southern California to our state’s great attractions like the Las Vegas Strip and the Hoover Dam. This announcement is excellent news for our state’s economic recovery.”

DesertXpress will give people a safe, convenient transportation alternative to the notoriously congested I-15.   And in a time of enormous economic challenge, it will create quality jobs.

This is the promise high-speed rail offers communities across the country.  This is how America wins the future.

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