House blocks highway bill money from going to high-speed rail

About 20 percent of the money in the federal transportation bill, which has been dubbed the American Energy and Infrastructure Act (H.R. 7), traditionally goes to public transit projects.

Republicans in the House have sought to put the brakes on the proposed California railway since reports emerged last fall stating that the cost of building the line would increase from $33 billion to $98 billion. The project has received more than $3 billion from the Obama administration, which is more than any other state that was included in the president’s vision of a nationwide network of railways connecting 80 percent of Americans.

The amendment to ban money from the transportation bill from going toward the railway was one of more than 80 amendments considered Thursday in a marathon markup hearing that lasted past midnight.

Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) has promised to finish the markup of the transportation bill during the ongoing session, which has now topped 16 hours.

"We're not stopping,” Mica told members of the Transportation Committee after an evening recess. “We're going to take up the remaining amendments.

"The only way we'll have votes tomorrow is once that clock strikes 12,” Mica continued. “We're finishing this tonight."