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Obama’s Goal: Connecting 80 Percent of Americans with High-Speed Rail

For Immediate Release

Statement of MoPIRG Transportation Associate Dan Smith on President Obama’s remarks on infrastructure as prepared to deliver in the State of the Union Address.

“Addressing the nation tonight, President Obama renewed his call for investment in our nation’s crumbling and outdated transportation infrastructure, rightly emphasizing that a smarter, more efficient transportation system is critical to economic competitiveness.

“The President singled out high-speed rail as a centerpiece of a 21st century transportation system. Connecting 80 percent of Americans with high-speed rail would revolutionize American life just as the interstate highway system did in the last century. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, foster closer regional business connections, lead to economic development, and provide a safe and convenient option for travelers.

“With traffic on the rise, increasing gas prices, and a population estimated to increase by 70 million in the next 25 years, America cannot afford to put off key investments and neglect rail and public transportation.

“In an era of tight-budgets, the President stressed the importance of getting the most out of taxpayer dollars. That means prioritizing investments that best meet our nation’s long-term needs, not short-term political goals.

“Now is the time to make the targeted investments in our infrastructure that are essential to securing America’s economic future. Both parties in Congress should come together to pass transportation reauthorization legislation that meets our needs for the 21st century.”

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