Post-election expectations re: high-speed rail

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Chris Woodward (

With President Obama having won re-election, does that mean high-speed rail projects will come to fruition? One transit expert doesn't see it happening.


Marc Scribner, fellow in land-use and transportation studies for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), says Congress does not seem too intent on authorizing any more funds to be spent on high-speed rail. "Essentially, all the funds are gone," he explains.

But as far as the relationship between the federal government and the states goes, Scribner does think the Obama administration will do what it can to support California's high-speed rail project.

"The big decision points are all going to be happening in California, so that's really where we'd want to watch," Scribner states. "Unfortunately, California residents voted to increase their taxes, so the fiscal constraint that some of us had thought that California's weak economy was going to put on the high-speed rail development may not be as strong."

Still, a number of questions persist as to whether California's rail project will actually be built, as lawsuits -- which Scribner says may be successful -- are pending.

The first section of California's rail project, which is to run from Merced to Fresno, was approved by the Federal Railroad Administration in September.

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