WASHINGTON —  Republicans on Thursday complained about the skyrocketing cost and lack of administrative transparency surrounding the construction of the California high-speed rail project, while Democrats and regulators steadfastly defended the partially bond-financed project as an antidote to gridlock and a way to create jobs.

“I consider myself a strong advocate of high-speed rail,” Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation Committee said at a hearing yesterday. “I’ve done everything I can to support high-speed rail.”

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