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JOB CREMATION: GOP Attempting to Divert High-Speed Rail Funds to Disaster Relief

The GOP has decided to go to war with everything Obama, no matter the cost to the nation. A frequently rehashed battle takes place on the tracks of the various high-speed rail (HSR) projects the administration and many Democratic leaders have supported in recent years. By trying to divert the already-pledged HSR funds to Midwestern emergency relief, Republican lawmakers have found a new tool in their box of blocks and hope to make HSR out to be an unaffordable luxury.

While everyone agrees that proper funding of emergency relief efforts is vital to the region, our country’s emergencies are traditionally paid for by the government without diverting funds from needed infrastructure projects. An article from the Engineering News-Record suggests that, “since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, for instance, Congress has provided some $5 billion on an emergency basis without demanding budget offsets.”

So why the change in 2011? Perhaps because the President is up for re-election in 2012 and the GOP is determined to sink any ship flying the Obama flag, regardless of the cost to America.

“They’re taking after this because it’s sponsored by the president. I think it’s a real slap at California,” Rep. Jim Costa, D-CA, says. Many states and workers will lose out if the projects are halted.

”If House Republicans succeed, California would lose $368 million. The Amtrak Northeast corridor would lose $795 million, and a Midwestern high-speed rail corridor linking Chicago, Detroit and St. Louis would lose $404 million.

The high-speed rail grants were announced by the Transportation Department in May, after Florida had rejected the money. The checks, though, have not yet been sent.”

In Florida, Governor Rick Scott was sued over denying his state job-creatin HSR funds. He also halted the $1.2 billion SunRail Project. This week, though, Sun Rail was approved. Below, he stumbles through an explanation of the events.

Citing fiscal responsibility, the Republican run House Appropriations Committee has beaten and bruised High-Speed Rail funding. It is a approach that leaves many politicians and citizens shaking their heads. These projects would not only provide infrastructure improvements — the U.S. suffers from a $2.2 trillion infrastructure investment shortfall — but create tens of thousands of jobs. Rebuilding our infrastructure has been valuable to our nation’s economy and long-term viability in the past. To boot, many of these halted projects have already begun or already approved commencement. Reversing those gains, for political aim, is counter-productive and threatens the well-being of the nation.


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