PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Vice President Joe Biden came to Philadelphia today to announce a plan that is likely to cause a fight in Congress: a push for funding high-speed rail.

In a speech at 30th Street Station that was largely preaching to the proverbial choir, Biden drew parallels as far back as the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, when at the height of the Civil War it also underwrote construction of a coast-to-coast rail link.

Ben Simmoneau reports…

So now, despite money woes but with a tailwind from the President’s State of the Union call to “win the future,” Biden says this year’s reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Program could change.

“It currently funds road and urban public transportation,” Biden told the invited crowd, “but we believe it should include inter-city rail — rail connecting New York, Washington, Chicago, Minneapolis, et cetera.”

Biden added that expanding roads and airports is often not practical or cost-effective.

And with a “buy domestic” component, he says, this can re-establish American dominance in a field in which it once led the world.

The project would cost $53 billion over six years.

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio

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