Press Releases

Chairman Nehls Statement from Hearing on the Future of Intercity Passenger Rail in America

Washington, D.C., November 29, 2023 | Justin Harclerode (202) 225-9446
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Washington, D.C. – Opening remarks, as prepared, of Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman Troy Nehls (R-TX) from today’s hearing, entitled “Getting on the Right Track: Navigating the Future of Intercity Passenger Rail in America”:

Today’s hearing will discuss the state of intercity passenger rail with a focus on how to develop this mode in a way that is safe, efficient, cost effective, and that meets the demands of consumers.

Investments and innovation in our rail infrastructure are essential to building a robust and competitive American transportation system.

We must ensure that federal policies and spending are balanced with a realistic analysis of consumer demand for passenger rail and best use of taxpayer dollars.

There is no better example of completely ignoring these important considerations than the disastrous California High-Speed Rail project originally proposed to run between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The venture, once estimated to cost $33 billion and be completed in 2020, is now projected to cost over $128 billion and counting, with an estimated completion date still over a decade away and no solid path forward.

The project has been plagued by a failure to account for actual costs and work associated with obtaining land to build the track, eminent domain issues, environmental concerns, permitting red tape, and whether low consumer demand will require permanent and costly government subsidies to operate the line.

While the California High-Speed Rail project shows the failures of poor planning and government incompetence, there are promising opportunities to promote intercity passenger rail responsibly.

Encouraging competition, removing burdensome government obstacles, focusing on areas of high demand, and involving the private sector have proven effective ways of managing intercity passenger rail, and today we will hear from witnesses about those promising efforts.

I look forward to discussing both the challenges and the opportunities for intercity passenger rail, as well as how Congress can provide robust oversight and safeguard taxpayer dollars that support these projects.

Thank you to all our witnesses for being here today.

Click here for more information, including video and witness testimony.



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