The chairman of the House transportation committee said he plans to meet with “Wall Street people” today to discuss investment in a proposed high-speed rail line between Boston and Washington.
U.S. Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican, said in an interview today that he wants investors’ input on how to “set the parameters” for government and businesses to work together on providing 220-mile-per hour passenger service on the 457-mile Northeast Corridor. He didn’t specify with whom he would meet.
Mica said he stands behind his proposal to revoke Amtrak’s ownership of the line and open competitive bidding to build and provide high-speed rail service. The lawmaker is also seeking to cut U.S. subsidies to Amtrak by 25 percent.
“I sure as hell am and intend to continue to be” a critic of Amtrak, Mica said today at the Railtrends 2011 conference in New York.
Members of the Teamsters union that represents Amtrak workers protested the proposal to cut subsidies by trying to leave sheets that read “Mica -- Unfair to Amtrak” on attendees’ seats before Mica’s speech. Conference organizers ushered the union members out and removed the leaflets.
Mica said he plans to meet with Amtrak President Joe Boardman and other “players” in the next week or two to discuss his bill, which includes measures to spur competition for high-speed rail service in the Northeast and on other intercity routes.