GOP says Reid added railroad pork to bill

WASHINGTON -- High-speed railroads that might someday whisk visitors between Las Vegas and Southern California received a boost under the economic stimulus bill. But Republicans are trying to make Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., pay a price for the plan.

Reid inserted $8 billion in the bill to construct high-speed rail lines. The amount was four times more than the Senate approved in an earlier version of the stimulus bill.

Reid aides said the funding is in the form of competitive grants and the two competing rail projects in Southern Nevada would be eligible to apply, along with those in the Northeast.

One project that has the backing of a California-Nevada commission proposes to build a 269-mile magnetic levitation train line between Las Vegas and Anaheim, Calif.

The second, Desert Xpress, is proposing a passenger train between Las Vegas and Victorville, Calif., using conventional high-speed technology.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said the rail money was evidence Reid, the Senate majority leader, was going back on a promise to keep pet projects out of the $790 billion stimulus bill.

Republicans also sought to tie a $30 million wetlands effort the San Francisco Bay area to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.


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