LaHood: High-speed rail 'not a pipe dream'

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During his appearances at the High-Speed Rail Congress this week, LaHood has shrugged off several Republican governors' rejections of money from the Obama administration to build railways.

Instead, he has focused on efforts to increase the speed of trains in the populous Northeast, where railways are popular, and on a recent vote to move forward with a proposed train system in California.

"Already, 32 states and the District of Columbia are at work building President Obama’s bold vision for 21st century rail," he wrote.

"Our partners are moving forward with 153 high-speed and higher performing passenger rail projects," LaHood continued. "This year alone, 45 projects representing nearly $3 billion in federal investment are scheduled to be underway or complete. In fact, 2012 marks the busiest rail construction season to date."

On Wednesday at the High-Speed Rail Congress, LaHood said that President Obama's high-speed rail initiative was "off to a good start," despite the stauch opposition it has received from Republican lawmakers and state leaders in Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida. 

The High-Speed Rail Congress, which is sponsored by the International Union of Railways (UIC) and the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), is scheduled to take place until Friday.