Congressman Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) is attempting to throw a lightning bolt into high-speed rail development in the U.S., an endeavor that has lost its charge over the last decade.
Moulton introduced a five-year, $205 billion bill for a national high-speed network. Moulton hopes the infusion of cash would generate $243 billion in matching state, local and private investments. The idea is to establish a number of city-to-city connections, and the big push would be private investments. There are a couple of examples already moving forward. Virgin Trains USA has a high-speed line in Florida and continues to expend in the state, and also will be breaking ground on a route between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Texas Central wants to build a high-speed line that runs between Dallas and Houston, and just won a major court battle that declared Texas Central a railroad that has eminent domain.
The Obama administration tried to establish more high-speed rail in the country back in the mid-2000s. His 2009 stimulus bill earmarked $8 billion for more high-speed rail, but the program never really got off the ground. The White House wanted too much control over the routes, and state governors ended up rejecting the money rather than follow the rules of the Obama administration.
The state of California is still moving forward with its high-speed rail network, but progress has been slow. There also is talk that Microsoft wants to work with officials on a high-speed line that would hit Eugene, Ore., Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash. A $1 million feasibility study is already underway.
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