By Keith Laing - 05/25/11 07:03 PM EDT
Mica said Amtrak, which he repeatedly criticized as a "Soviet-style operation," could not efficiently handle the work needed to increase the speed of trains in the Northeast and build more there.
"While there is a need and great potential for high-speed rail in this congested corridor, Amtrak’s $117 billion 30-year plan to upgrade (northeast corridor) service is unacceptable," Mica's office said in a statement. "Amtrak has not proven itself capable of managing large-scale projects, 30 years is too long, and the cost is much too high.
"Thursday’s hearing will provide an opportunity to discuss an alternative for a public-private partnership model that relies on private sector competition to help finance, design, build, operate and maintain NEC high-speed rail services," the statement announcing the meeting continued.
Scheduled speakers include Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who chairs the Senate Surface Transportation subcommittee, as well as U.S. High Speed Rail Association Vice President Thomas Hart and AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind.