Pat blogged yesterday about Iowa Congressman Tom Latham’s amendment to strip down the high-speed rail funding in the housing and transportation bill to Obama’s original $1 billion rather than the $4 billion that was added in committee. It wasn’t looking good for a while, with HSR advocacy organizations such as the Midwest HSRA and Virginians High-Speed Rail putting out action alerts to their members. Fortunately, thanks to quick responses from those concerned about our nation’s rail infrastructure (or perhaps just the general spirit of the times), the amendment easily failed 136-284.
As The Transport Politic points out, this is a good indicator of the surprisingly high amount of bipartisan support high-speed rail seems to enjoy in the legislature. Maybe this is due to the wide number of states now vying for those funds, or perhaps, pathetically, it’s just the fact that there was no mention of “Amtrak” in the proposal.
If this language makes it through the Senate, that’s a 1/2 increase of the HSR money already allocated in the stimulus package. This runs together with Pat’s anniversary post the other day. If you had told me that the federal government approve $12 billion for high-speed rail with support from a number of likely and unlikely states back when I started in Spring 2008, I wouldn’t have believed you.