Congress Divided Over Future Of Rail Policy | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Congress Divided Over Future Of Rail Policy

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Many officials were up in arms when Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott turned down federal money to put high-speed rail in the state, but not Florida Rep. John Mica, who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

In that role, Mica's been leading a series of hearings aimed at undermining the Obama Administration's rail policy. Mica says the government needs to stop heavily subsidizing Amtrak and high-speed rail.

"Even in Russia, they now have private sector competition," he says. "They put a high-speed line in between Moscow and Leningrad. That's Moscow!"

But Democrats say Republicans are just playing politics instead of trying to address the nation's transit problems. Virginia Democrat Jim Moran says he's not hearing any Republican ideas to unclog highways in his district.

"The fact that we can't even fund Amtrak, let alone high speed-rail, shows that we're not going to be competitive in the 2nd century," he says.

With Congress divided, the impasse over the future of U.S. rail policy is unlikely to be decided anytime soon.

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