This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
This time, with a veto-proof majority in both houses. Awesome:
The bipartisan bill, which passed by a veto-proof margin of 311-104, would authorize funding for the national passenger railroad over the next five years. Some of the money would go to a program of matching grants to help states set up or expand rail service.
Besides the $14.9 billion provided for Amtrak and intercity rail, an amendment to the bill would authorize $1.5 billion for Washington’s Metro transit system over the next 10 years.
Good stuff. I’m especially excited about the matching grants, which we rely on here in the Cascades. This part is a bit troubling:
Unlike the Senate version, the House bill includes a requirement for the Department of Transportation to seek proposals from private companies to create a high-speed service that would take travelers from Washington to New York City in two hours or less. The idea has long been championed by Mica, who says the United States must catch up with European and Asian countries on high-speed rail travel.
Critics say the proposal would undermine Amtrak by peeling off its most valuable asset, the Northeast Corridor.
But I’ll take it. A “requirement to seek proposals” is some pretty weak sauce. It hardly sounds like a dealbreaker, if it even survives the joint House-Senate committee.