Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kerry, Specter Seek High-Speed Rail $$

Hoping to jump start the economy and rebuild some of America's second-rate infrastructure, Sens. John Kerry, D-MA, and Arlen Specter, R-PA, have introduced legislation in the Senate authorizing the sales of $23 billion of tax-exempt bonds to finance high-speed rail lines. If passed, the bill could make a hefty contribution toward the California High-Speed Rail line, for which voters in that state authorized a $10 billion bond sale earlier this month.
In a news release, Sen. Kerry said:
“A first-rate rail system would protect our environment, save families time and money, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and help get our economy moving again. The High-Speed Rail for America Act will help fix our crumbling infrastructure system, expand our economy, and match high-tech rail systems across the globe.”
Added Sen. Specter:
“We must continue to focus our energies on building and maintaining a strong national passenger rail system in order to ease congestion of air and highway corridors connecting high-growth markets, as well as to meet energy and environmental goals.”
The High-Speed Rail for America Act of 2008 provides $8 billion over a six-year period for tax-exempt bonds to finance rail projects with top speeds of at least 110 miles per hour. It also authorizes issuances of two categories of qualified tax-credit bonds: $10 billion over ten years for true high-speed lines like the California project and the Northeast Corridor and $5.4 billion for lines that run at lower speeds, specifically the ten rail corridors previously designated by the Federal Railroad Administration around the country.

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