By Keith Laing
Mica has said the administration should focus its efforts on expanding the use of high-speed rail in the densely populated Northeast, where trains are already popular. He has attributed the rejection of $2.4 billion by the governor of his home state of Florida and two other Republican governors to bad politics on behalf of the White House.
Mica said Obama is trying to force trains on places that don't want them instead of putting resources where citizens have demonstrated through ridership that they want more and faster trains.
“Only two months ago, the Administration finally designated the Northeast Corridor as a high-speed rail corridor, and today provided funding for projects in this region," he said. "However, with Amtrak’s plan to spend $117 billion over the next 30 years, the Administration continues to take a piecemeal approach to improving the NEC. We need a comprehensive, responsible plan for the Northeast Corridor, and Amtrak — our nation’s Soviet-style passenger rail service — is incapable of carrying out a project of this scope and significance."
“We need to bring in the private sector to finance, design, build, operate and maintain true high-speed service in the Northeast Corridor if we are going to have any chance of success,” Mica concluded.
Public transportation advocacy groups in Washington were much more positive about the announcements Monday from the Obama administration.
“This investment in high-speed and intercity rail is an important step toward bringing America’s transportation system into the 21st century," American Public Transportation Association President William Millar said in a statement.
"The $2 billion additional investment builds upon the current momentum for high-speed and intercity rail and helps carry forward the projects already underway in many states. These projects are creating jobs and building more energy efficient, cost effective solutions to our strained infrastructure," Millar said.