LaHood speaks out on Amtrak and the stimulus bill

Interesting comments by the new Secretary of Transportation, from a story on Friday by WGIL radio in Galesburg, Illinois. Emphases mine. Two billion is not going to go as far as people wish when it comes to building HSR across the Midwest, I suspect.

LaHood Says Amtrak Benefits From Stimulus Plan

ray lahoodPresident Barack Obama’s Transportation Secretary says passenger rail service throughout the midwest should improve under President Barack Obama’s proposed economic stimulus plan.

Former 18th District Congressman Ray LaHood told midwest reporters during a conference call Thursday that a proposed $2 billion for high speed rail is a good thing, and will help reaffirm his and the President’s commitment to keep Amtrak running.

LaHood says unlike in the past where passenger rail in the northeastern U.S. was the biggest beneficiary of rail-related money, things will be different this time. “Were going to be working very closely to make sure that the states that have really made the commitment to Amtrak get the rail money — certainly we know a number of states have made the commitment,” LaHood said. “More recently, states have gotten more involved. But, we know that the northeast corridor has made a huge commitment. States like Illinois have made a huge commitment. We’re going to look carefully.”

LaHood says some of the money will be spent on rail infrastructure, while others will be on facilities like train stations so that it all ends up providing the train service that people want. He says funding Amtrak is a priority for Obama not only in the stimulus bill, but also in the long term.

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