Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Plan to Connect 80% of US with High-Speed Intercity Rail

The nation's top transportation official used an event outside Harrisburg to detail plans by the Obama administration to build a high-speed intercity rail network, though plenty of questions remain about how the project would be funded.
U-S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was among the high-ranking officials who took part in a wide-ranging discussion about infrastructure.
He joined in on the event at Central Pennsylvania College in Cumberland County by satellite.
LaHood says the Obama administration is committed to bolstering investment in high-speed rail -- even though he concedes it's not clear where the routes will go or where all the money will come from...
"We don't know where all the lines will be on the map, we don't know where all the money will come from. But I promise you in less time than it took to create our interstates, you'll start to see high-speed intercity trains carry sufficient numbers of Americans from the Northeast south along the Atlantic Seaboard and west across the Sunbelt."

Following up on LaHood's comments, Governor Rendell said a proposal for northeastern Pennsylvania demonstrates the commonwealth's interest in the concept...
"The Scranton through the Poconos through New Jersey to link up with the tube going into New York is a project that has a tremendous amount of regional support and we're looking to the next reauthorization of ISTEA to see where that goes, no question about it."

LaHood says the ambitious 500-billion-dollar plan is designed to unfold over the next 25 years. As for regional rail, the secretary says those projects could receive federal backing if state and regional officials make it clear that they're a priority.

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