Secrets of the Job Hunt


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

San Diego Construction Jobs, Other Incentives for High-Speed Rail

The idea of bringing a high-speed rail system to California has caused plenty of debate throughout the state, but new figures show such a project could benefit the economy by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs - including San Diego construction jobs and other permanent positions - as well as billions of dollars in revenue.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
recently submitted a request for funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for high-speed rail. In addition, California voters already approved nearly $10 billion for the project.

"These resources stand to launch us quickly into a period of job creation at a time when we need it the most," Lynn Schenk, a member of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The San Diego Institute for Policy Research found that a high-speed rail project would create 45,000 San Diego construction jobs alone and 160,000 construction jobs throughout the state. The project would result in 320,000 permanent jobs by 2030 and 450,000 permanent jobs by 2035.

Needless to say, the city could certainly use the additional jobs. During October, the San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos area saw its total non-farm employment decrease by 4 percent when compared to last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The area's construction industry employed 65,400 workers during October, down from 66,100 workers during September and a 12.9 percent decrease from last year. As a whole, California's construction industry employed 614,100 workers during October, down from 616,600 workers during September and an 18.2 percent decrease from last year.

In addition, a high-speed rail system would result in more than $1 billion per year in surplus revenues by 2030, accounting for almost three times as much value as the project itself will cost during the next 40 years.

Aside from added jobs and revenue - which could reverse the state's current and impending budget crises - a high speed rail system would provide a quality transportation option for residents. The project would increase safe transportation capacity, provide a significant new option for intercity travel and help strengthen existing city centers by improving accessibility.

And while benefiting residents, the such a project also would benefit the environment. On average, high-speed trains eliminate more than 12 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year, which is the equivalent of 11 billion miles of travel on California roads by 1 million vehicles. The trains, which run on clean electrical energy, would reduce dependence on foreign oil by up to 12 million barrels per year.

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