Cantor and Scott: Bi-partisan buddies
In the rough and tumble world of Washington, D.C. beltway politics, Eric Cantor and Bobby Scott couldn’t be further apart. Cantor has become the standard bearer for a new Republican revolution, while Scott has become a respected member of the Democratic majority with growing influence.
But when it comes to their home districts, Scott and Cantor share a common interest and it just so happens that common interest is Richmond. Both Congressman represent a portion of the city and as a result their work in Washington sometimes must intermingle. By in large that work is behind the scenes, but for one signature issue, the kind of issue that could make a legislative legacy, the two have joined very public forces.
Cantor and Scott have agreed to work together to attempt to leverage federal funds to build a high speed rail-line from Richmond to Washington, D.C. The idea of a train that one could get on in Shockoe Bottom and end up at Union Station in 45 minutes is mythical to Richmonders. It is almost like Ahab’s search for the great white whale.
But ironically, it is this difficult economy that is offering Scott and Cantor to opportunity land their big fish. The American Investment and Recovery Act (simply known as the stimulus) has pumped millions of dollars in federal funds to build the kind of infrastructure that could lead to a project like a high speed rail line.
Today the unlikely duo held a tele-conference with Richmond officials and Karen Rae, Deputy Administrator of Federal Railroad Administration to explain the process to submit proposals for competitive grant funding to get the project off the ground. It was their second major public appearance on the subject. A few months ago the two held a press event at Main Street Station to announce their partnership. (Rachel DePompa covered that event NBC12)
Expect this to just be the beginning, because if and when this project happens it will require the slashing through of plenty of red tape. Tape thick enough to require the muscle of two powerful Congressman to cut.