By Keith Laing
Shuster's committee held a hearing last week to find ways to increase private investment in rail, measures he and Mica touted Monday. Their stance comes as a transportation advocacy group, the American Public Transportation Association, called Monday for more public transit to be built to combat rising gas prices.
However, Mica and Shuster blamed President Obama for the fate of proposed high-speed rail projects in Wisconsin, Ohio and now Florida that have been canceled by conservative Republican governors who say the projects are too expensive, even with federal help. Conservative activists in Florida have begun referring to proposed railways as ObamaRail, much like some derisively refer to his healthcare reform law as ObamaCare.
“With Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida rejecting funds, and the California project also looking troubled, I don’t think the Administration’s so-called high-speed and expanded passenger rail program could have had a worse launch,” Mica said. “The only chance of success for high-speed rail is to rely on the private sector and focus on a project that makes sense, particularly the Northeast Corridor.
"The questions now are how do we regain our credibility after so much damage has been done, and how can we find a better opportunity to bring true high-speed rail to the congested Northeast Corridor with significant private sector involvement?” he concluded.