Peters, Bloomberg and Mica Tout High Speed Rail Initiative in New York

December 15 - U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters and Congressman John Mica (R-FL) joined Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York City today to announce the Department of Transportation's request for proposals for high-speed rail investment in corridors across the United States. Citing the energy efficiency, convenience, and economic competitiveness benefits of high-speed rail, the political leaders lamented the slow progress of the U.S. in implementing modern high-speed rail technology.

The new high-speed rail initiative announced today by the U.S. DOT is a small program in  the recently enacted Rail Safety Act, signed into law by President Bush in October 2008. Much more significant is the authorization of approximately $13 billion for Amtrak and U.S. states for operating and capital costs related to intercity and high-speed rail. The focus of today's press conference, the issuance of a request for proposals for private investment in high-speed rail should result in an interesting preview of whether private investors consider rail a profit-making enterprise. At best, it should garner some new energy, ideas, and proposals for how to make this long overdue technology available in the U.S. At worst, it could distract from the urgent task at hand --bringing America's existing rail network up to a state of good repair and implementing dependable, regular, and more frequent intercity services in corridors around the U.S. 

New York Channel 4 reported on the new conference below.