California high-speed rail project takes financial hit

The fortunes of California’s high-speed rail project, which would connect Southern California to the Bay Area with a 220-mph train, took a big financial hit Thursday afternoon when a congressional panel slashed the Federal Railroad Administration budget.

The Obama administration had asked for $8 billion for fiscal 2012 for high-speed rail projects and other passenger rail programs around the country. But the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development cut the request by nearly $7 billion, leaving money only to operate Amtrak and some smaller programs.

House Republican leaders had signaled before the session that they would not support any request for additional high-speed rail outlays. They cited pressure to cut spending and argued such projects don’t make economic sense.

Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) proposed an amendment to fund the high-speed rail program with $1 billion, but it was voted down. The funding bill has to be approved by the entire Appropriations Committee and the full House. The Senate has not yet taken up rail funding.


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