Special to the News-Standard
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas 8, sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee urging the adoption of smart safeguards to protect U.S. taxpayers from footing the bill of faulty high speed rail projects.
Specifically, the letter requests the inclusion of strong guardrails to the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing loan program in the upcoming spending package.
“While we support passenger rail infrastructure, it is imperative that high-speed rail projects in specific are fully vetted and held accountable through acquiring critical federal permits before obtaining federal funding,” Brady wrote. “There are proposals for high-speed rail projects in Texas that do not have necessary permits and authorizations from federal agencies to begin construction and operate in compliance with U.S. safety regulations.”
Analyzing the financial standing of these projects, including any pending legal cases that would completely impair the ability to access the full amount of property needed for such a project, is an urgent priority to appropriately delegate competitive infrastructure funds, the letter states.
In the letter, the Members request language be included in the FY2023 appropriations bill that would:
•Require high speed rail projects to get necessary permitting approved before accessing federal loans
•Hold high speed rail projects financially accountable when accessing federal loans
•Strengthen taxpayer safeguards while bolstering the development of feasible high-speed rail projects
The letter also is signed by Reps. Jake Ellzey, Texas 6), Michael McCaul, Texas 10, Doug LaMalfa, Calif. 1, and Michelle Steel, Calif. 48.