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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Shuster names House transportation subcommittee chairs


Yesterday, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) announced the subcommittee leaders he intends to appoint for the 113th Congress.

To chair the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, Shuster has tabbed Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.).

"Rail transportation is the backbone of America's economy, and I look forward to the opportunity to look for more cost effective and innovative approaches to passenger- and freight-rail service in order to generate American jobs and promote economic development," Denham said in a prepared statement.

As chairman of the railroads subcommittee, Denham could create additional challenges for President Barack Obama's goal to develop a national high-speed rail program. A critic of high-speed rial, Denham has been a vocal opponent of California's ambitious plan to build a statewide high-speed rail line.

The Fresno Bee reported Wednesday that Denham indicated he would keep an open mind about the California project, however.

"I'm opposed to it, but I'm going to work with the California High-Speed Rail Authority on going forward," Denham was quoted as saying in the article. "I want to work together with them, though I still have doubts about their funding and ridership numbers."

Shuster also appointed Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) to chair the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.

"Every American is impacted by our transportation system and sees its successes — and shortfalls — each day as they commute to work or school and go about their daily life," Petri said. "Consumers and businesses rely on our roads and highways to move goods across the country."

Previously, Petri chaired the Subcommittee on Aviation, which now will be headed by Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.).

Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), who previously chaired Highways and Transit, will become vice chairman of the full transportation committee.

As vice chair, Duncan will lead a series of special panels that will be assigned the task of making recommendations to the full committee, Shuster said, adding that details on those panels will be announced at a later date.

Shuster's other subcommittee chairman appointments are Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation; Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management; and Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), Water Resources and Environment.

The vice chairman and subcommittee chairmen are expected to be confirmed at the full committee's organizational meeting on Jan. 23. Full subcommittee rosters also will be available at that time, Shuster said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/17/2013