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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.

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ABC News Radio