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Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 02/18/2011

Maryland wants high-speed rail funds

By Ashley Halsey III

If other states don't want federal funding to build the Obama administration's proposed national network of high-speed rail lines, Maryland would be happy to have the money they spurn.

Gov. Martin O'Malley spelled that out Friday in a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Three newly elected Republican governors -- Florida's Rick Scott, Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Ohio's John Kasich -- have rejected federal money for high-speed rail, citing concern that their state's taxpayers might be saddled with cost overruns.

In his letter to LaHood, O'Malley expressed no such reservations.

"Transportation infrastructure projects, including passenger rail, offer a path to economic recovery and a stronger, more competitive future for Maryland and the nation," O'Malley wrote. "We stand ready to work with Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration and other states along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor to initiate additional planning and construction projects that create jobs and are so vital to the Corridor."

The Obama administration has proposed spending $8 billion for high-speed rail in the coming fiscal year and a total of $53 billion over the next six years. LaHood this week described the plan as Obama's "signature transportation issue."

By Ashley Halsey III  | February 18, 2011; 11:23 AM ET
Categories:  Amtrak, Maryland, Passenger Rail  | Tags:  High-speed rail  
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Ah, it's so nice to have a rational governor in charge of a rational state so close by.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | February 18, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

It would be good to have a high-speed line from DC to Ocean City via annapolis. That would do wonders for the traffic on Route 50.

Posted by: ceefer66 | February 18, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

If Gov. O'Malley wants to spend billions on expensive, money-losing rail systems in Maryland, the state can use its own tax dollars. There's no reason why taxpayers across the country should have to subsidize Maryland's expensive wish-list.

And of course, the federal government is already broke. We need to reduce wasteful federal spending, not increase it.

Posted by: jrmil | February 18, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

jrmil, I think you misunderstand the nuances of "wasteful spending". Wasteful spending is spending on programs or tax cuts that won't help our economy compete internationally, which is the most important issue for our country right now. Useful spending is spending on infrastructure that increases national productivity, such as high speed rail.

Posted by: crzytwnman | February 18, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

This is the right place for spending the money. The only reason it was going to Florida before was political and now they've said, "no thanks". Time to put the investment to work where people want it. Let's get DE, PA, NJ, NY, CT on board and get things moving.

Posted by: blankspace | February 18, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

man are republicans idiots

Posted by: slick3 | February 18, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

One of the few things that I agree with O'Malley on!

Posted by: reiflame1 | February 18, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Seriously..........Look at every major economic event in the past and find that common denominator of economic recovery is Public Investment in infrastructure, generally implemented by deficit spending by the Federal Government.

This is not to mention the actual direct benefits from real high-speed rail.

Posted by: JoeMck | February 18, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

High Speed Rail might make sense if it was between Richmond and Boston but it will never be self suffecient. The other rail lines proposed were absolute waste of money. The Florida line could be beat by just driving a car. At this time we need projects that will serve a purpose to a larger group of people. These rail projects are not it.

Posted by: Pilot1 | February 18, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The government needs to stop spending on infrastructure in Iraq and focus on the US. The defense budget is bloated. All HSR money should go to the NEC.

Amtrak is operationally profitable running trains from DC to NYC. They need to start there. Baltimore has so much potential if they could put the rail line through the downtown area.

Posted by: marchar123 | February 18, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Does it really matter if anyone will take the trains or if it requires trillions of dollars in ongoing taxpayer subsidies? It's spending, therefore it is stimulus. Don't question it, unless you are ready to commit treason.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 18, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

The current NEC makes a 40% profit. So, it's highly likely that a high speed train on the same route will also turn a profit. The reason this can't be done by a private business is that they don't have the power or eminent domain. Suck on that tea-douchbags.

Posted by: cranor | February 18, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

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