Thursday, March 15, 2012

Going to hell on a "High-Speed Rail" hand-car

Senate Transportation Bill Assigns Rail Hand-cars High-Speed Rail Status and Eligibility to Receive Federal Funding.

Casey Legislation to Boost Erie’s Workforce Passes Senate
Casey Amendment Will Ensure that GE Can Compete for High-Speed Rail Contracts

Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Casey’s Amendment Part of Job-Creating Transportation Bill to Boost America’s Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today secured the passage of an amendment to ensure that additional rail manufacturers such as GE, which produces locomotives in Erie, can compete for high-speed rail contracts. The amendment passed as part of a bill to rebuild America’s transportation infrastructure and create jobs.

“The passage of this bill great news for Erie’s work-force and the economy of northwestern Pennsylvania,” said Senator Casey. “My legislation solidifies GE’s ability to compete for high-speed rail contracts, supporting jobs in the region and improving rail travel throughout the country.”

Senator Casey’s amendment would ensure that GE’s locomotives, which can operate at 110 miles per hour, can compete for high-speed rail contracts. The Department of Transportation was considering a requirement that high-speed rail locomotives reach 125 miles per hour, but infrastructure in most states only supports speeds of 110 miles per hour. In addition, the cost difference to upgrade that infrastructure would be substantial.

Senator Casey’s amendment will give state departments of transportation and public authorities the flexibility to procure locomotives that best suit their needs and maximize taxpayer dollars. 


Those who believe that the Senate Transportation Bill (approved by the United States High-Speed Rail Association) will not contain funds eligible for high-speed rail use will be sadly mistaken. The definition has been stretched to include 110 mph diesel locomotives.  This amendment opens up the the number of possible fish in the political-pork-seeking fish-tank. Eligibility is applicable to trains running from 110 mph to any speed faster than that.

We can only hope that the House version clamps down on this flagrant attempt to by-pass high-speed rail development restrictions in the final budget version.  

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