Saturday, July 09, 2011

[PDI] FW: T & I Committee Announcement


-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Harnish <>
Sent: July 08, 2011 5:41 PM
Subject: T & I Committee Announcement


Yesterday, Congressman Mica (R-FL), Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, held an event to outline his proposal to reauthorize the surface transportation program.  Unfortunately, the Democratic members of the committee did not attend.  They held their own event at which they focused on the low dollar amount of the proposal.

Both events highlighted the dysfunctional state of our current transportation infrastructure program. It is clear that our country's transportation system needs to change. Gas tax revenue is decreasing while highway construction costs are increasing. Current programs and financing structures are no longer sustainable and we need to start more aggressively pursing alternatives.

This creates an opening for high-speed and intercity passenger rail to move forward. Many of the long-held assumptions about the transportation program are going to be challenged.  That gives us the opportunity to offer HSIPR as a real solution.

There is an immediate threat to be dealt with, however.  The Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill will be moving to the House floor next week.  It contains language to rescind all the unspent HSIPR stimulus money.  The much needed rehab of the Chicago - Detroit Amtrak line will not move forward if this language remains in the final bill. In fact train speeds will drop to 25 mph over much of the route.  The currently planned replacement of Amtrak's outdated Midwestern fleet will also not occur.

That is why the Midwest High Speed Rail Association is working with other rail and transportation advocacy groups across the country to coordinate a National Call-In Day Monday, July 11th. Please check your inboxes on Monday for more instructions on how to reach out to your elected officials, asking them to fund high-speed and intercity passenger rail and protect already allocated funds. It is our hope that thousands of people will call and email their elected congressional officials, demonstrating the wide-spread support that exists for high-speed and intercity passenger rail!
You can get a jump on the process by clicking here.

To read more analysis and discussion details from the Mica event, visit our blog.

Rick Harnish

Executive Director

Midwest High Speed Rail Association

4765 N. Lincoln Ave.

Chicago, IL 60625


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