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Nation needs to establish two or three 'model' HSR lines, Rep. Corrine Brown says

(The following appeared on the Progressive Railroading website on August 7, 2009.)

On Tuesday, Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) reiterated what’s commonly known in rail industry circles: She’s a staunch supporter of high-speed rail (HSR) and commuter rail.

Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee’s Railroad Subcommittee, Brown long has been “battling” Florida’s legislature to win approval of an initial commuter-rail system in central Florida that, in effect, would lay the groundwork for a statewide HSR line, she said in a prepared statement. And last week, Brown held a House T&I committee roundtable on HSR manufacturing in the United States, including the possibility of establishing domestic production lines for HSR locomotives and cars.

Although federal funding is available for many HSR lines — including $8 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $4 billion proposed in the House’s 2010 transportation appropriations bill and $50 billion over the next six years to be proposed in the House transportation committee’s forthcoming surface transportation reauthorization bill — the nation needs to first pursue two or three “high-quality” lines, regardless of their location, Brown said.

“Once we have two to three lines up and running, the benefits of high-speed and commuter rail investment will become evident both to the American people and to policymakers in Washington,” she said. “These initial rail lines would then serve as a successful model … to spark the construction of future projects.”

Monday, August 10, 2009

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