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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Establishing High Speed Rail
Columbus, Ohio
Thursday, January 28, 2010

Good afternoon!

It's great to be here today.

I would like to thank Governor Ted Strickland for hosting us and for his leadership.

Both the Governor and I served together on the Energy and Commerce Committee when we were in the U.S. House of Representatives.

I want to thank and acknowledge Representative Mary Jo Kilroy — whose district we are in — for her hard work.

I also want to acknowledge Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman for being with us as well.

As President Obama said in his State of the Union speech last night, this Administration's top priority is creating jobs, and I am here today to announce the historic investment by President Obama in America's infrastructure, iIn particular, the investment and development of high-speed rail in Ohio.

I am happy to announce that Ohio will receive $400 million to establish high-speed passenger rail.

In creating America's first nationwide program of high-speed and intercity passenger rail service, one of the many benefits is putting Americans back to work.

The State of Ohio will need to plan projects, purchase and lay track, build and assemble equipment and construct or upgrade train stations, tunnels and bridges.

This is something that Ohio's Rail Development Commission has been planning and pursuing for many decades now with the 3C “Quick Start” Passenger Rail Plan.

The high-speed rail initiative is a long-term venture, much like the Interstate Highway System, which took more than four decades to complete.

Just as the highway system revolutionized the way Americans traveled, high speed rail will transform travel once again in this country — and for the better.

Passenger rail service will be more efficient and better serve cities, not only in Ohio, but across the country.

In Ohio the proposed 256-mile corridor would connect nearly 6 million people — stretching from Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati.

These investments will make rail a viable transportation alternative for many in this state. By establishing an expansive, safe and energy efficient rail transportation network, we expect to generate economic development that will benefit everyone.

Experts estimate that the 3C Corridor will:

  • Generate an additional $111 million in potential consumer spending;
  • Generate over 11,000 potential jobs;
  • Create opportunities to revitalize vibrant urban cores; and
  • In addition to expanded passenger rail-related business growth, freight rail operations will benefit from relief at congested points at more than $3 to $6 billion in improved productivity.

The jobs generated through this initiative will provide economic security for middle-class Ohio families.

And these are jobs that will stay in the United States and not be outsourced.

In addition to today's announcement, the Department of Labor is investing $313 million to help meet the needs of workers in Ohio through both Recovery Act and regular appropriations.

To date the Department of Labor has invested in the state:

  • Over $173 million in Recovery Act funds;
  • $88 million in unemployment insurance modernization funds;
  • $56 million for Workforce Investment Act youth activities, including summer youth employment;
  • Over $58 million for Workforce Investment Act dislocated worker activities; and
  • More than $18 million for administrative support for unemployment compensation.

And in keeping my commitment to invest in high-growth industries of the future, the Labor Department has:

  • Awarded $6 million to the state of Ohio to provide training focused in the wind, solar and biomass industries;
  • Awarded $4.8 million for the Ohio Electrical Labor Management Cooperative Committee to provide training that prepares workers in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries;
  • Awarded organizations in Ohio $8 million in Pathways Out of Poverty Grants to help disadvantaged populations find ways into economic self-sufficiency through employment in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries; and
  • I am proud to say that over $75 million of our green jobs, health care and high growth grants have gone to those communities who have been impacted by the auto restructuring.

And just as important as these investments are made to create jobs and help our economy recover, high-speed rail will also benefit our environment.

High-speed rail will help remove thousands of vehicles from the road and alleviate congestion on the highways, reducing hydrocarbon emissions.

High-speed rail is a long-term initiative.

We must be clear — new rail lines will not be built overnight.

It will take a sustained investment over time to achieve results.

But, make no mistake ... this investment will help get our economy back on track and enable both future economic growth and advance shared prosperity for all Americans.

With the support of President Barack Obama and the leaders in your state, Ohio will be better connected.

Thank you.