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Mica's new clout in House huge boost to high-speed-rail projects

For insight into U.S. Rep. John Mica's priorities as new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure committee, just look at his calendar.

On Thursday, just one day after Mica organized his 59-member committee in Washington, the Winter Park Republican held a field hearing in New York City. The subject: How to bring high-speed rail to the Northeast corridor — an ambitious plan that could rely on Florida as a model on how to fund it.

Mica and his industry allies hope to use a proposed train between Orlando and Tampa to show that private companies are willing to invest their own money in high-speed rail. If it works, Mica hopes the playbook could be repeated across the country, including the Northeast.
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Making that work — especially in a Republican House determined to make big cuts in federal spending — will require all the deal-making skills that Mica has acquired during 18 years in Congress. And it's by far the most ambitious undertaking of a political career that began with election to the Florida House in 1976.

The full story appears on the Orlando Sentinel website.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

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