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DC/NY High Speed Rail Legislation Advances in House

amtrakAccording to the Wall Street Journal, the bill that would have the U.S. Department of Transportation solicit proposals for a high speed rail service between NY and D.C. was approved on Thursday by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Chris Conkey reports that “the bill’s prospects appear to be strong since it enjoys the support of the committee’s Democratic and Republican leaders.” (For more info on the bill read yesterday’s post: ”New DC/NY High Speed Rail Link?” and this reader’s comment). From the Journal:
“One way to address road and air congestion is by expanding our passenger rail system,” said Rep. Bill Shuster, (R., Pa.), the ranking Republican on the House railroads subcommittee. Rep. James Oberstar (D., Minn.), chairman of the transportation committee, called the vote a historic milestone. “We ought to at least do in America what has been done in France to promote passenger rail service,” he said. The slow-moving U.S. rail network pales in comparison to the popular high-speed routes in Europe and East Asia. But hints of change are emerging. California is poised to vote on a ballot measure this fall that would steer over $9 billion toward the development of a high-speed route stretching from Sacramento to San Diego. Several Midwestern states have teamed up in the Midwest Regional Rail Initiative, which aims to speed up service times between Chicago and cities such as Detroit, Cincinnati and St. Louis. The federal bill that advanced in the House Thursday would provide nearly $1.8 billion in grants to develop rail corridors between cities where trains can travel up to 110 miles per hour. Another provision of the bill, championed by Rep. John Mica (R., Fla.), would have the Transportation Department solicit proposals for high-speed service along the heavily traveled and densely populated New York to Washington, D.C., route. Mr. Mica’s goal is to offer consumers a rail option that would connect the cities in two hours. It takes 2 hours and 45 minutes for Amtrak’s fastest train, the Acela Express, to cover that distance.
Read “Railway Legislation Advances in House,” by Christopher Conkey for The Wall Street Journal