On behalf of The silicon valley organization (The SVO), our 65 member board of directors and our 1,400 member businesses, we were heartened to hear your commitment to rebuild America one railway, road, and bridge at a time. We could not agree with you more; America’s infrastructure is indeed crumbling. Here in Silicon Valley our commuter railways and highways have experienced extraordinary increases in ridership, which has translated into gridlock and needed maintenance. Efforts such as our Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP), which will put American workers and American companies to work across the nation require your support.
We heard you loud and clear when you requested a list of ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects and we stand prepared to break ground on the PCEP project, barring 647 million in federal grant funding. The 47-mile corridor stretching along the Peninsula from San Francisco to San Jose, which is home to companies like Google, Facebook, Tesla, and Adobe is indispensable to the regional economy and a healthy workforce. The PCEP project would convert old worn down diesel rail cars to electric, bringing the railway corridor into the 21st century and employing 9,600 workers right here in the United States.
In your address to the joint session of Congress you highlighted your abhorrence of American manufacturing jobs leaving the United States, lamented our infrastructure woes, and called for unity behind a bi-partisan effort to promote clean air and water for our children. With your approval, the PCEP project would create an assembly plant in North Salt Lake, Utah and employ thousands of workers. With your approval, a railway corridor which has been in use for 150 years would be sprung into modernity and support the 6th largest economy in the world. With your approval, the PCEP project could cut current railway emissions by 97 percent and help protect our children’s futures.
A project reviewed by the Federal Transportation Authority and ranked so highly has never been rejected at this point in development and it would be foolhardy to discontinue or delay this project any further. In a letter to your Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, California Republicans misguidedly called for the federal grant to be blocked, falsely linking the PCEP project grant to California’s efforts to bring one of your highest aspirations for America’s infrastructure, high-speed rail, to our state. In a judge’s ruling the grant requested by PCEP to electrify the corridor is of “independent utility” and separate from the High-Speed Rail project. As you can see, there is nothing blocking you from ushering in your infrastructure goals.
A 2-billion-dollar project more than 20 years in the making which uses state, regional, and local funds will be effectively killed if you do not include the project in your 2017- 2018 budget. Directing Congress and the Department of Transportation to approve the 647-million-dollar grant will be another positive step in nudging America’s infrastructure towards the future you so boldly envision. Failure to do so will result in dire consequences for American contractors, American workers, and the American economy.
The SVO and our 1,400 member businesses strongly urge you to include the PCEP project in your 2017 - 2018 budget to Congress.