WNPR

Pep Rally for High-Speed Rail

Jan 28, 2011

State and federal elected officials gathered in Hartford to discuss the future of high speed rail in New England today.  It was one of those news events without a whole lot of news. Here's how new U-S Senator Richard Blumenthal saw it. "We're here for I think what passes as a transportation pep rally." And it was -- on behalf of those in the state and the region who see high-speed rail traffic as the next big thing.  But given the funding landscape in Washington, Blumenthal said the pep rally was sorely needed. "These goals are going to be a fight. For every argument in favor of high speed rail and transportation efficiency, there are efforts to cut spending, hollow out the program that has so far been at the core of these efforts." Blumenthal was joined by Governor Dannel Malloy, state House Speaker Chris Donovan, U-S representatives John Larson, Chris Murphy, Rosa Delauro, and Joe Courtney, and Massachusetts congressman John Olver. But the most important guest in the room may have been Pennsylvania Republican congressman  Bill Shuster - chairman of a congressional subcommittee on railroads.  Courting Shuster seemed to be the order of the day, as speakers made the case that Connecticut and the region are ready to invest in the fast trains that would bring commuters and travelers across the densely populated northeast.  Malloy said he wants the state to support high-speed rail. "We're ready to do that, we're ready to be your partner, I'm ready to come to Washington at the drop of a hat." Shuster said there will be tough choices made in the upcoming federal budget. But he says high speed rail should make the cu  Because Shuster says he thinks that a high-speed rail success story in the northeast could spark the growth of passenger rail nationwide. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.