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Sniping at super speed

February 19, 2009 - Jim Anderson
Candice Miller, who served as Michigan’s Secretary of State from 1995 to 2003, now represents Michigan’s 10th District in Congress. During the floor debate on the stimulus bill, Rep. Miller, R-Harrison, was featured in a news clip, saying: “Apparently the Senate majority leader has earmarked $8 billion for a rail system from Las Vegas to Los Angeles? You have got to be kidding. You have got to be kidding.” And the myth was off and running. Numerous commentators have picked up on the complaint that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., snuck $8 billion into the stimulus bill for a pet project. Accepting that notion, Fox News contributor and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said this: “This train is really an atrocity. It goes from Disneyland, as you said, to Vegas. It should be called the fantasy land express. And it’s a perfect example of the kind of hidden favors, handouts, earmarks that we thought we were going to get overturned and abolished under this new administration.” In reality, there’s no direct mention of the train in the $787 billion stimulus bill, according to the Chicago Tribune. At the urging of the administration, the bill does provide $8 billion for unspecified high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects. A number of high-speed rail projects have been proposed across the country and are expected to compete for the funds. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (a former Republican member of the House) is being asked to come up with a strategic plan. The proposed California-Nevada super speed train (a magnetic levitation train traveling 300 mph) carries an estimated cost of $12 billion to $14 billion. How much, if any, of the $8 billion it might receive remains to be seen.


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