President calls for $53 billion high speed program

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PHILADELPHIA — President Barack Obama has asked Congress to spend $53 billion on high speed rail as part of a mobility and job creation measure, the Associated Press has reported. He’s asking for $8 billion initially as part of a budget plan set for release Monday.

Vice President Joseph Biden laid out details of the plan in Philadelphia today. He pitched the plan as necessary to keep America competitive with the rest of the world.

“We cannot compromise. The rest of the world is not compromising,” he said.

The administration hopes Congress will spend the $53 billion over six years. During his State of the Union speech, Obama said he wanted 80 percent of Americans to have access to high speed rail in 20 years.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the house committee that oversees transportation policy, quickly blasted the plan. “Rather than focusing on the Northeast Corridor, the most congested corridor in the nation and the only corridor owned by the federal government, the administration continues to squander limited taxpayer dollars on marginal projects,” he said.
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