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Feds’ rail money could slow down in NC House bill

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s new slice of money from the federal government to improve Piedmont passenger train service could be pushed back under legislation being considered by state lawmakers.

The House Transportation Committee scheduled debate today on a measure that would bar the state Department of Transportation from accepting federal funds for a high-speed rail project without permission by the General Assembly.

The requirement could make it more difficult for state DOT to spend $461 million in federal grants announced last week to cut time between Raleigh and Charlotte by building new tracks and eliminating highway crossings.

Bill sponsor Rep. Ric Killian of Charlotte said he’s worried the state will be left with a big annual bill to operate the service. At least three other states have rejected similar high-speed money.

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