Some Republicans in Congress are claiming they’ve killed the expensive high-speed rail program President Obama had been pushing to establish. If funding for the proposed multi-billion dollar rail transportation program has been eliminated, Iowa Senator and Democrat Tom Harkin says it would be a real shame.
“I have long advocated, for at least the last 30 years, that we need to develop high-speed rail in America,” Harkin says. “Having ridden on high-speed trains when I was in the military stationed in Japan, they had a train that went 150 miles an hour and that was back in the ’60s.”
Reports say Republicans want to derail the program because it’s too expensive. Harkin hadn’t heard that they succeeded. “I don’t know what the recent reports are on killing high-speed rail,” Harkin says. “I don’t think we’re going to cut that, at least I hope not.”
The president requested $8-billion for the rail program in fiscal year 2012 and a total of $53-billion over six years. The Republican-led U.S. House is set to vote today on a spending measure which reportedly stripped all funding to the high-speed rail program. It should go to the Senate Friday.
A separate proposal for $230-million would bring passenger rail service to Iowa. A federal project would create a passenger rail line between Chicago and Iowa City. Iowa and Illinois each have to agree to chip in funding as well.
Iowa’s portion of $20-million has not yet been approved. As recently as last month, Governor Terry Branstad said the proposal is still being “carefully studied.”