Today and tomorrow, U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) will conduct briefings with high-speed rail stakeholders to review pending U.S. Department of Transportation plans to issue a request for proposal for high-speed passenger-rail service.
Last month, President Bush signed into law legislation that enables private sector participation in the development, financing, operation and maintenance of high-speed rail service in the United States. Originally proposed as the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 (H.R. 6003), the legislation — introduced earlier this year by Mica and other Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members — was included in the Rail Safety Enhancement Act of 2008 (H.R. 2095/S. 1889).
The bill requires the USDOT to solicit project proposals by Dec. 15 from the private sector for the 11 federally designated high-speed rail corridors. Governors and mayors, freight and commuter railroads, labor organizations and Amtrak will evaluate the proposals for each corridor.
Briefing participants will include representatives from financial investment firms; train and railroad equipment manufacturers; federal, state and local governments; private rail operators; labor groups; and Amtrak.