(WASHINGTON) – The following is a statement by Dennis Pierce, President of the Teamsters Rail Conference, regarding the California High Speed Rail Authority’s 2018 Business Plan:
“Given that California’s high-speed rail project is arguably the single largest and most complex infrastructure project in the history of the nation, delays and cost increases are frustrating but inevitable. Nonetheless, successful economies demand an efficient and effective transportation system. California’s airports are at capacity. Building more airports and expanding highways to meet our growing population will cost multiple times what high-speed rail will cost. Expanding freeways will gobble up more and more of our precious farmland. We need to address the challenge of our increasing population and the growing congestion on our freeways and airports. High-speed rail is a transportation system that has proven effective worldwide.
“The California High Speed Rail Authority’s 2018 business plan is a solid, realistic blueprint for the state to follow to continue forward. Already, the ongoing construction of the system in the Central Valley is transforming the economy in what has been a historically neglected part of the state that has suffered the state’s highest unemployment rates. To those who complain the project costs too much, that the challenges of building it too great, the question must be asked, what is the alternative to addressing the state’s growing population and our transportation needs?”
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The Teamsters Rail Conference represents more than 70,000 rail workers employed as locomotive engineers, trainmen and maintenance of way workers across the United States as members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED). International Brotherhood of Teamsters Vice President John Murphy serves as Director of the Rail Conference. BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce serves as Rail Conference President. Teamsters Vice President at Large Freddie N. Simpson is National President of the BMWED.