$8 Billion for High Speed Rail? How Did That Happen?

What were the inside politics that allowed for the largest investment in high speed rail in the U.S? Politico reports on the Obama-Emanuel workings of the rail investment in the stimulus package - and no, it wasn't based on the LA to Las Vegas route.

"The $787.2 billion economic recovery bill dedicates $8 billion to high-speed rail, most of which was added in the final closed-door bargaining at the instigation of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

It's a sum that far surpasses anything before attempted in the United States - and more is coming. Administration officials told Politico that when Obama outlines his 2010 budget next week, it will ask for $1 billion more for high-speed rail in each of the next five years."

Despite Obama campaigning on a pro-HSR platform, "the administration never emphasized high-speed rail when the House Appropriations Committee was writing its bill in January. The first real request came from the Senate Appropriations panel, and the committee had to scramble to find room for $2 billion.

Last week, Emanuel greatly upped the ante, asking House-Senate negotiators for $10 billion for high-speed rail."

'I put it in there for the president,' Emanuel said in an interview. 'The president wanted to have a signature issue in the bill, his commitment for the future.'"

Thanks to Leonard Conly

Full Story: Obama plots huge railroad expansion

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