As I’ve said many times before, high-speed rail will transform American transportation for generations to come. And I'm excited to see this program take shape. Right now, we've got eight projects underway and Amtrak's Chicago-Kalamazoo route recently added the first 110-miles-per-hour service outside the Northeast Corridor.
This morning, I had the opportunity to thank an organization whose members have been great advocates for this essential passenger rail network, the U.S. High Speed Rail Association. Thanks in no small part to the USHSR Association, high-speed rail is coming to America.
And high speed rail remains a major priority for President Obama and Vice President Biden. In fact, the President’s vision for an America built to last--the budget he proposed last month--would provide 2.5 billion in 2013 as part of a $47 billion, six-year investment to continue construction of a 21st century high-speed passenger rail network.
We envision an America in which 80 percent of people have access to high-speed rail. We envision a network that whisks passengers from downtown to downtown while they work comfortably on their laptops and portable devices. We envision a network that takes cars off the road so trucks can travel between cities on highways that aren't choked with traffic.
And we know that as this system emerges, economic growth and opportunity will follow.