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On track: LA Metro supports high-speed trains

Posted: July 30, 2009 3:33 p.m.
Updated: July 30, 2009 3:33 p.m.
LOS ANGELES (PRNewswire) -- The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors voted July 23 to support and collaborate with the High-Speed Rail Authority (HSRA), solidifying a partnership that will ensure greater connectivity and improved railways throughout Southern California.

"The best way to develop and expand important high-speed and intercity rail systems to their greatest potential is by working in close coordination with our neighbors," said Mayor Curt Pringle, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority and Mayor, City of Anaheim. "The health of California's economy and its environment is highly dependent on all regions working together because of the proximity and interdependence of our major cities."

The policy position comes as officials at the state Department of Transportation (Caltrans) work to coordinate rail plans to qualify for federal funding for high-speed rail in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, known as the stimulus bill.

The Metro Board's position placed an emphasis on the Los Angeles-Anaheim Section, a move to further bolster the state's High-Speed Rail application, which includes a request to fund that section.

"There is no question these agencies need to be working together," said Richard Katz, who serves on both the Metro and the High-Speed Rail Authority boards. "By taking this vote, Metro is helping to set the stage for a high-speed rail system that will fully integrate with regional transit systems in Los Angeles, greatly improving mobility and helping to relieve Southern California's transportation woes."

Metro is the latest in a number of regional transportation agencies coordinating with High-Speed Rail in Southern California. HSRA currently has memorandums of understanding in place with the Southern California Association of Governments, Riverside County Transportation Commission, San Diego Association of Governments, San Bernardino Associated Governments, and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). OCTA has provided more than $7 million in funding over the last two years, which has helped to propel the Anaheim-Los Angeles Section of the system forward by clearly demonstrating local support.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is responsible for building high-speed train service covering 800 miles at speeds up to 220 MPH. Voters approved Proposition 1A on the November 2008 ballot, putting a down payment on what will be America's first high-speed train system.

By linking all major cities in California with a state of the art new transportation option, California's high-speed train system will increase mobility while cutting air pollution and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Operating the system will create an annual surplus of more than $1 billion.

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