The National Association of Railroad Passengers presented U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla) and U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev) with the George Falcon Golden Spike Award for their efforts on behalf of U.S. rail transportation, this week.
Mica is the Republican Leader of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In 2008, he authored the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, which opened high-speed passenger rail development in the U.S. to private sector participation, provided new rail safety measures and reauthorized Amtrak for the first time in seven years. The legislation became law in October.
“Rail transportation, for passengers and freight, is an essential component of a truly national transportation strategy,” Mica said. “Rail has tremendous potential to move people and goods in this country, but we have underutilized this valuable mode of transportation."
The Federal Railroad Administration has received more than 100 expressions of interest for the development, finance, construction, operation and maintenance of U.S. high-speed rail service, in response to Mica’s high-speed rail initiative. Interested parties include state departments of transportation; finance companies; transportation consultants; rail service providers; major international conglomerates; train manufacturers; and architectural, engineering and construction firms.
The award is presented to individuals for their support for a fully developed train network and leadership in promoting rail development.