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ACR-84 First transcontinental railroad: 150th anniversary.(2019-2020)

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CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Concurrent Resolution
No. 84


Introduced by Assembly Member Fong

May 01, 2019


Relative to the first transcontinental railroad.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


ACR 84, as introduced, Fong. First transcontinental railroad: 150th anniversary.
This measure would designate May 10, 2019, as the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in California, and would encourage all Californians to observe that anniversary and to celebrate the tireless efforts of all of those who overcame brutal obstacles, both natural and technological, to achieve the dream of uniting the country from coast to coast.
Fiscal Committee: NO  

WHEREAS, With the advent of the railroad in the 1820s, many Americans envisioned binding the nation together through the construction of a railroad that spanned the country, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean; and
WHEREAS, The state recognizes the importance of honoring efforts that provide common benefits to, and promote opportunities for, all of its residents; and
WHEREAS, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Pacific Railway Act in 1862 to provide federal support for the building of the first transcontinental railroad; and
WHEREAS, The Central Pacific Railroad Company laid the first rails of the new railroad in 1863 in Sacramento, California, and continued east across the Sierra Nevada mountain range, while, beginning in 1865, the Union Pacific Railroad Company built westward from the Missouri River, near the Iowa-Nebraska border, where the railroad met existing eastern railroads via ferry; and
WHEREAS, The first transcontinental railroad required the building of over 50 bridges and trestles and 15 tunnels through the most challenging terrain in the United States; and
WHEREAS, Building the first major national transportation infrastructure project necessitated the employment of thousands of workers, many of whom were Chinese and Irish immigrants, Mormons, Native Americans, Free Blacks, and others who joined to work together to construct the railroad; and
WHEREAS, United States industrialists recruited thousands of Chinese workers to assist in the construction of the first transcontinental railroad and these laborers, who made up to 80 percent of the transcontinental railroad’s western workforce, were paid substandard wages and faced grueling hours and extremely harsh conditions in order to lay hundreds of miles of railroad tracks; and
WHEREAS, The first transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10, 1869, by the joining of the two tracks with a symbolic golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory; and
WHEREAS, The United States Department of Labor awarded the Chinese railroad workers a place in the Department’s Hall of Honor in 2014 on the 145th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad’s completion; and
WHEREAS, The first transcontinental railroad reduced the time required to journey across the United States from six months to one week and the cost of the trip from $1,000 to $150; and
WHEREAS, The impact of the first transcontinental railroad in the 19th century has been likened to the impact of the internet in the 21st century in transforming communications, commerce, and industry, facilitating the movement of people across the country, and greatly increasing the global presence of the United States; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That California designates May 10, 2019, as the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in California; and be it further
Resolved, That all Californians are encouraged to observe May 10, 2019, as the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad and to celebrate the tireless efforts of all of those who overcame brutal obstacles, both natural and technological, to achieve the dream of uniting the country from coast to coast; and be it further
Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.