Wednesday, May 13, 2009

High Speed Rail On LaHood's A List

In a speech Tuesday at the National Retail Federation leadership conference, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood repeatedly referred to the need for the United States to develop high speed intercity rail transportation, referring to the stimulus bill's $8 billion in seed money for these projects. In spite of funding difficulties, LaHood said he expects House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman James Oberstar to produce a workable five year transportation reauthorization bill "pretty soon."

Meanwhile, Congressmen both on and off Oberstar's committee have noted a softening in the Chairman's stance regarding the posting of earmark requests on their websites. In a May 4 letter Oberstar and Ranking Member John Mica merely asked Congressmen to "please post requests for projects on their websites." Although all the earmark requests will ultimately be posted on Oberstar's committee website, the chairman refuses to set a deadline for individual members to post their requests on their own sites, and also refused to say he will disallow any earmarks not posted on individual Congressmen's sires before the legislation passes.
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