By Keith Laing - 09/21/11 10:24 PM EDT
One of the most vocal rail supporters in Congress, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), agreed
“Rail service is the lifeblood of New Jersey's economy and I will continue fighting to strengthen it for our commuters,” Lautenberg said in a statement. “These high speed rail grants will help the United States create a 21st century transportation system. We must make smart investments to expand high-speed rail in New Jersey and throughout the country.”
Early in his term, President Obama envisioned a effort to build a rail network that would rival the development of the interstate highway system under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower as a way to dig the country out of a deep economic hole.
But modern-day Republicans criticized the proposal from the start, calling the railway proposals a way of money that would not generate enough ridership to cover the expensive of building and maintaining. Three newly-elected Republicans governors in Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin made shows of rejecting money from the stimulus earlier this year.
A lawmaker from a state that has said it would push ahead with high-speed rail, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, also hailed Tuesday's vote.
“California is ready and willing to put high-speed rail funds to work, creating thousands of jobs, modernizing the state’s infrastructure and reducing pollution," she said Tuesday. "I offered this amendment because we can’t turn our backs on a project that will invest in the future and put Californians back to work.”