High-speed rail takes big hit in budget deal

The deal that averted a federal government shutdown last week will eliminate $1.5 billion in high-speed rail money, Department of Transportation officials confirmed to The Hill Monday afternoon.

A short-term continuing resolution was approved late last Friday to avoid a shutdown of the federal government, but legislative language is being drafted in both chambers for a bill that would fund the government through the end of September. Details emerged Monday showing the Obama administration's push for high-speed rail was on the chopping block.

Congress had appropriated $2.5 billion for high-speed rail last year, but House Republicans were intent on cutting at least $1 billion of it from the moment they took control of the chamber this year.

DOT told The Hill that the cut will not affect grants that have already been given. However, the amount available is a far cry from the $53 billion the Obama administration has included in its six-year transportation bill proposal that Republicans have already indicated is unlikely to move forward.