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Entries in High-Speed Rail (3)

Wednesday
Feb092011

Biden Promotes Nationwide High-Speed Rail Service

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- The Obama administration is hoping the country will get on board with its proposal to provide high-speed rail service to four-fifths of the population by 2036.

To that end, the White House is sending Vice President Joe Biden around the U.S. to pitch the plan.

On Tuesday, Biden was in Philadelphia to promote the high-speed rail service proposal that he said was fundamental to the growth of the nation's infrastructure.  Biden insisted that the plan to create jobs and expand the economy is not negotiable.

While the initial budget will call for $8 billion for high-rail expansion, it's expected to cost as much as $53 billion by the projected completion in 25 years.

This spending project is expected to face a lot of scrunity by the Republican-controlled House, which is looking ways to cut the federal budget wherever it can.

GOP lawmakers say that time and effort would be better spent trying to rescue the government-funded Amtrak system that serves the Northeast corridor, which has been drowning in red ink for years.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec132010

Will GOP Revolt on High-Speed Rail Projects Derail Obama's Plan?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Many Americans soon could see European-style high-speed trains in their backyards, but a wave of Republican gubernatorial victories means the project -- once touted by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as a "game changer" -- faces many obstacles ahead.

Last week, the Department of Transportation yanked away nearly $1.2 billion in funds from Wisconsin and Ohio after incoming governors in both states said they would not continue the project, and distributed it to 13 other states where high-speed rail projects are moving forward as planned.

All eyes are now on Florida, where Gov.-elect Rick Scott threatened during his campaign to oppose any rail plan that would require subsidies after federal dollars ran out. But since winning office, the governor-to-be has been relatively mute on the subject. Florida received $342.3 million of the money that was redirected from Wisconsin and Ohio.

Proponents of the plan say high-speed railroads are needed to make the United States more competitive and to accelerate business and tourism.

Of the $787 billion in stimulus funds passed by Congress last year, $8 billion was allocated for high-speed rail and another $1 billion per year for five years had been requested in the federal budget to accelerate the program.

Opponents say at a time when the federal government has bigger fish to fry, how states tackle their local infrastructure should be left up to them, not the federal government.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov062010

High-Speed Rail Projects: Casualty of GOP Wave?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the wake of Tuesday's election results, yet another one of the administration's flagship programs may now be in jeopardy. At least two newly elected Republican governors are taking aim at high speed rail projects in their states.

President Obama promised to develop America's first nationwide program of intercity high-speed passenger rail. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has called the plan "a game changer" that "will help change our society for the better." The administration has already awarded $10.5 billion dollars in stimulus money to help pay for 54 rail projects in 23 states. $2.5 billion of that was doled out just last week.

But not everyone is eager to climb aboard. In Ohio, Governor-elect John Kasich has been quoted as saying, "Passenger rail is not in Ohio's future." Kasich minced no words in talking about the project. "That train is dead," he said.

In Wisconsin, the state department of transportation has now stopped all work on a high-speed rail line between Madison and Milwaukee. In a memo to project contractors and consultants, the Wisconsin Transportation Secretary told them to stop work for a "few days." The memo indicated the temporary halt was "in light of the election results." The Governor-elect, Scott Walker, is no fan of the project and made a campaign promise to kill it.

Also in question is a high-speed rail line in Florida, designed to carry passengers at 168 miles an hour from Orlando to Tampa. The state has received $1.25 billion dollars in federal money for the project, but it could cost twice that much to complete. As a candidate, Republican Governor-elect Rick Scott questioned whether the rail line was a good deal for the state.

New York's Governor-elect, Andrew Cuomo, reassured the federal government that if other states didn't want their high-speed rail money, he would be thrilled to have it for projects in upstate New York.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio