The Obama administration has maintained its push for high-speed rail in the face of staunch opposition from Republicans in Congress and in state governments. The president called early in the first half of his tenure in office for a nationwide network of high-speed railways that he said would rival the reach of the interstate highway system, and he included $8 billion for construction in the 2009 economic stimulus.
But the money was rejected by three prominent Republican governors, and GOP members in the House moved successfully last year to eliminate future funding for high-speed rail.
Republicans on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have argued that high-speed rail only makes sense in the densely populated Northeast U.S.
However, organizers of the high-speed rail conference in Philadelphia are promising "the world’s largest global gathering focused around successful strategies, latest developments, best practices and innovative technologies in high-speed rail."
The event will be sponsored by the International Union of Railways; the American Public Transportation Association; Amtrak; the Association of American Railroads; the Department of Transportation; the FRA and VIA Rail Canada.