A House vote is scheduled this afternoon on a bill by Charlotte Rep. Ric Killian that would require NCDOT to consult the legislature before it accepts more federal high-speed rail grants.
Killian wants to do more. He calls state-supported passenger rail service "a joy ride" (see today's Road Worrier column) and says the money does nothing to reduce road congestion or improve transportation safety.
His original bill would have forced DOT to return $461 million in rail money to Washington. He refashioned it but a committee removed a provision that would give the legislature veto power over future rail grants, so -- unless that language is restored in a floor amendment today -- the measure up for a vote requires only conversation between legislators and DOT officials.
Meanwhile, the proposed House budget advancing toward a floor vote next week includes a special provision similar to the bill to be voted on today, and it includes the part about giving the legislature power to keep DOT from accepting major rail grants in the future.