Now is a great time to talk about our investments in America's transportation network. Congress has passed--and the President has signed--a new transportation bill. We recently selected 47 good projects for our fourth round of TIGER awards. And just yesterday, as part of his We Can't Wait initiative, President Obama announced that the Administration will expedite seven projects to upgrade five key ports.
Also yesterday, I spoke with members of the Northeast Corridor Commission (NECC) about the importance of this Administration's investments in high-speed passenger rail. My message to them was simple: High-speed rail is the next generation of transportation. And it has come to America.
The NECC meeting is the first time that we’ve had DOT, Amtrak and representatives from every state in the corridor at the same table, planning for the future of this region. This partnership represents our commitment to a unified vision for the Northeast Corridor—and that vision includes speed.
The Northeast Corridor is in a unique position for the growth of high speed rail. Home to one in seven Americans, the region is densely populated with an established rail market. It's an ideal candidate for further high-speed rail development.
Amtrak has already set the pace with upgrades and a bold willingness to push the envelope. And at DOT, we’re doing our part. We've made a down payment of more than $3 billion to make trains even faster in the Northeast Corridor and to improve service reliability and cut travel times.
But our work in the Northeast Corridor is just the beginning. As significant as the Northeast Corridor's rail improvements are--and they are significant--American high-speed rail is a vibrant effort that is moving forward from coast to coast.
If you read my blog yesterday, then you already know about the Midwest's progress toward higher speed rail and the economic investment and jobs that work is generating.
And earlier in the week, Deputy Secretary John Porcari was in San Francisco as Governor Jerry Brown signed a funding bill that will set California's high-speed rail line in motion.
California's approach also includes investments in local rail lines that will allow San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego to connect more easily with the Central Valley line. As Governor Brown said, "By improving regional transportation systems, we are investing in the future of our state and making California a better place to live and work."
Big ideas don’t come out of thin air. They are born when a group of people come together and think boldly about the future. That's what's happening in the Northeast Corridor. It's what's happening in California. And it's happening in the Midwest. From sea to shining sea, America is becoming a high-speed rail nation.