Republicans in the House have targeted the proposed railway supporters say would link San Francisco, Los Angeles and other major cities since reports emerged last fall that the cost of building the line would increase from $33 to $98 billion. The project has received more than $3 billion from the Obama administration, which is more than any other state that was included in the president’s vision of a nationwide network of railways that would connect 80 percent of Americans.
The House has already voted to remove funding for high-speed rail from the 2012 budget, but Denham’s office said it was important it not be included in the multi-year transportation bill that traditionally appropriates money raised by the federal gas tax.
“The congressman wants to create jobs and expand upon our transportation portfolio, but we must be responsible for how we are spending taxpayer dollars,” Denham’s office said. “The money should go towards repairing our roads and highways, these are immediate, shovel-ready infrastructure projects that will create jobs and help build our local economies.”
Democrats have objected to both the amount of the GOP’s proposal for the new highway bill and the Republican plan to pay it using money from increased oil drilling. The minority party moved unsuccessfully Thursday morning to postpone the markup of the highway bill, and ranking member Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) promised his party would “offer many amendments to address deficiencies in this bill.
“I hope all members of this committee had a full breakfast this morning, because I wouldn't want them to starve like we've been starving our infrastructure,” Rahall said Thursday morning.
The transportation committee’s mark up of the transportation bill is expected to last most of the day Thursday. Denham's amendment has not yet come up for vote.