House GOP tries to divert rail money to flood relief

first_imgWashington could lose some funds under a possible diversion of federal high-speed rail dollars. But the proposal isn’t likely to throw the state’s overall rail aspirations off track.In May, federal officials announced the reallocation of stimulus funds turned down by the state of Florida. Among the new beneficiaries was the Port of Vancouver, which received $15 million for a rail project.That amount hasn’t been formally secured yet, and could be diverted if funding is instead sent to disaster relief in the Midwest, as proposed.Even without the port’s allotment, Washington has already banked well over $700 million in high-speed rail funds, including $145 million awarded after Ohio and Wisconsin similarly rejected funding. Washington’s original share of rail funds was about $590 million, according to Washington State Department of Transportation spokesperson Melanie Coon.All of that funding is contractually obligated and cannot be reallocated, Coon said.WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans this week are side-tracking $1.5 billion in high-speed rail funds already awarded to several states.In an adroit maneuver, GOP lawmakers propose shifting the high-speed rail dollars to pay for Midwestern disaster relief. The move would help ease the federal deficit while it underscores Republican resistance toward the Obama administration’s rail plans.last_img

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