LaHood testifying on high-speed rail program mistakes, lessons

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will testify at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Dec. 6 focusing on the mistakes and lessons of the Administration’s high-speed rail program.

Since the 2009 stimulus and President Barack Obama’s stated goal of providing 80 percent of Americans with access to high-speed rail within 25 years, the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program has been appropriated to total of $10.1 billion.

With nearly all available federal funding having been awarded and obligated, the FRA has shifted focus to project oversight, according to the U.S. DOT. The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the DOT Office of Inspector General (DOT IG), and others have reported various concerns with the program in general and with specific projects, such as the California high-speed rail project.

The Dec. 6 hearing will examine FRA’s management of the program, the status of rail projects, and what needs to be done to improve the program. In addition to LaHood, the DOT IG, the GAO, state transportation officials, and a representative of the freight railroads will also testify.  For more information about the hearing, click here.