CHICAGO — The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) Executive Director Howard Learner said, “The Obama Administration’s plan to invest $53 billion in high-speed passenger rail is a transformative commitment that will bolster the American economy, create jobs, and give people a much-needed third transportation option for better mobility.”

Vice President Joe Biden said the $53 billion during six years will be used to build new high-speed rail networks and make existing ones faster. President Obama’s 2012 budget is expected to include $8 billion in funding for high-speed rail. Additional funds will be allocated during the next six years.

This strong commitment to a national high-speed passenger rail system follows through on the president’s State of the Union commitment to make smart investments in critical infrastructure while reducing the deficit. Doing so will keep the United States competitive with China and Europe, according to Learner.

ELPC has studied and advocated for high-speed rail for 15 years. Learner is nationally recognized for his leadership on the economic, environmental, and societal benefits of fast train transportation and how it promotes economic growth. Learner issued the following statement: “The Obama administration is following through on its promise to make the vital infrastructure improvements that our nation needs to ensure a better future and our global competitiveness. This high-speed rail plan will transform and modernize our nation’s transportation system. President Obama understands that we can’t build a 21st century economy on 19th century infrastructure.

This commitment to high-speed rail helps solve our nation’s changing transportation needs and advances a better future. High-speed rail is the most practical, environmentally responsible, and energy efficient way to transport people safely and comfortably across our regions.

We strongly urge Congress to support this proposal and keep America competitive with China and Europe, which have reaped the economic and environmental benefits of high-speed rail investment for decades.”

To learn more about the Environmental Law & Policy Center’s high-speed rail advocacy, visit