When I wrote about the latest round of funding for our TIGER program earlier this week, I mentioned the multi-modal "transportation centers that have revitalized downtowns by offering a range of transportation options."
And just yesterday, leaders from our Federal Transit Administration and our Federal Railroad Administration were in Seattle to help Mayor Mike McGinn and Congressman Jim McDermott celebrate the grand reopening of one such center, Seattle's King Street Station.
After a decade of repairs and revitalization, the 107-year-old station--one of the busiest in the Pacific Northwest--has been transformed into a modern transportation hub providing travelers seamless connections to Amtrak, commuter trains, light rail, and bus lines. Eventually, it will link to Seattle streetcars as well.
But the station is not just pulling transportation duty. Other downtown transportation centers have anchored economic development in their communities. For example, Brunswick’s Downeaster station is on its way to attracting more than $325 million in new investment by 2030. Expectations are high for the King Street Station to give a similar lift to Seattle's Pioneer Square, helping create jobs and boosting economic growth.
Thanks in part to strong support from President Obama and record ridership on Amtrak, rail has once again emerged as a people's choice for transportation. As Mayor McGinn said of the historic station, “It’s not just about the past, but about a future where we recognize the best of the past ways of doing things.”
And, as I told the National Association of Rail Passengers recently, that's exactly what the President's proposed budget for the Department of Transportation would continue doing.
That's in addition to the $12 billion this Administration has already invested in high speed and intercity passenger rail, including:
- $4.2 billion in California
- $3.7 billion in the Northeast Region
- $2.5 billion in the Midwest
- $814 million in the Pacific Northwest
- $700 million in the Southeast
It's easy to see the effect of those investments in increased speeds and upgraded facilities from coast to coast. Higher speed and intercity passenger rail is coming to America.
And I'm happy to say that it's bringing American jobs with it. Up and down the rail supply chain, manufacturers are growing their U.S. operations and growing our workforce and economy, too.
So from steel to track, engine to trainset, and station to revitalized downtown--it's clear that rail has a valuable role to play in keeping America moving forward.