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High-Speed Rail Defended, Assailed in DC

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US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stood by the nation's high-speed rail endeavors at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing yesterday. Governing reports that LaHood described high-speed rail as a job-creator and smart investment to committee head John Mica, who balked at its price tag (the SF-Anaheim project is now pegged at $98.5 billion). The timing was bad for LaHood--not only was he in a long hearing on his birthday, but it was also the same day as reports of a new poll that found that California voters would reject a bond sale for a bullet train if it happened today. The committee is hosting a future hearing focusing on the California plan--expect fireworks. [Governing via Planetizen]