The Obama administration has reallocated $2 billion designated for high-speed rail after Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) opted to not accept the funds.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood redistributed the money to 15 states and Amtrak to upgrade train service in the Northeast corridor and Midwest. Amtrak will receive $795 million to work on the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston. More than $400 million will go toward a Chicago-Detroit connection, and $300 million is directed at advancing the San Francisco-Los Angeles line.
Scott and two other Republican governors—John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin—declined the funds out of fear their states would be left with mounting bills if the project ran over budget.
"The truth is that this project would be far too costly to taxpayers and I believe the risk far outweighs the benefits," Scott told the St. Petersburg Times in February.
“We need a comprehensive, responsible plan for the Northeast Corridor,” Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said in a statement, “and Amtrak—our nation’s Soviet-style passenger rail service—is incapable of carrying out a project of this scope and significance.”
The Obama administration has pushed for high-speed rail as a way to compete with Europe and Asia, where the system has been in use for years. President Obama proposed spending another $53 billion over six years. The U.S. High Speed Rail Association estimated the rail system would cost $600 billion over the next 20 years, a price tag many Republicans say the country cannot afford.
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