This is a perfect example of why you can’t rationally cut programs to balance every spending item. This is just stupid:
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed an amended energy and water bill Friday that would divert $1 billion from high-speed rail projects — including electrical upgrades on the busy Northeast Corridor Line in New Jersey — to pay for flood relief along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
But New Jersey’s two Democratic U.S. senators are trying to get the Department of Transportation to obligate the money before Congress gets hold of it.
Weary commuters on the Northeast Corridor between Trenton and New York City have long called for upgrades to the Depression-era overhead “catenary” wires that power the trains. Last month, power problems were blamed for three consecutive days of delays.
The amendment to divert the rail money in New Jersey and elsewhere was proposed last month by a seemingly unlikely source — a New Jersey congressman.
“The flooding in the Midwest has been devastating,” U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) told McClatchy News Service earlier in the week. “We must be serious about controlling the deficit.”
A Frelinghuysen spokesman told The Star-Ledger last month the high-speed rail money had not been obligated and was therefore eligible to be rescinded.