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2/6/2009



Rail News: Passenger Rail

FRA receives 'overwhelming' response to request for high-speed rail proposals


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So far, more than 80 companies and state departments of transportation have responded to the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) request for expressions of interest to develop high-speed rail corridors.

"This overwhelming response is remarkable given the current state of the economy," said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Republican Leader John Mica (R-Fla.) — who last year led an effort to open high-speed rail development to the private sector — in a prepared statement.

The FRA began soliciting proposals in December from firms seeking to develop, finance, construct, operate and maintain high-speed rail service in 11 federally designated corridors. Interested parties include transportation finance companies; transportation consultants; architectural, engineering and construction firms; rail service providers; international conglomerates; train manufacturers; and state departments of transportation. Final proposals must be submitted by September.

In November, the FRA plans to establish commissions staffed with governors and mayors, and representatives from rail labor, Amtrak, freight railroads and transit agencies to review and rank the proposals. The commissions then will report their findings to Congress, beginning with the Washington, D.C.-to-New York City corridor. Once House and Senate committees have held hearings on the D.C.-to-New York corridor, the FRA can submit reports for other corridors to Congress.


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