WASHINGTON – Congress would take away Amtrak’s popular Northeast corridor train service and invite private investors to bid for the right to develop high-speed rail under a plan outlined by a key House Republican on Thursday.

The densely populated corridor — which extends from Washington to Boston, including service to New York City and Philadelphia — is the most viable region in the country for truly high-speed trains averaging speeds better than 110 mph, said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla.

But Amtrak has failed to provide fast service despite tens of billions of dollars in federal aid, he said at a hearing.

Amtrak’s Acela trains reach speeds over 150 mph in some portions of the corridor. But Mica said trip times average only 83 mph between Washington and New York and 72 mph between New York and Boston. His calculations include wait times at station stops along the route, which lowers the average speed. Last year, Amtrak proposed a plan to upgrade its Northeast corridor track and trains and to eliminate bottlenecks so that trains can travel up to 220 mph. Trip time between Washington and New York would be reduced to 96 minutes and between New York and Boston to 93 minutes. But the plan would be phased in over 30 years and cost $117 billion to implement. The railroad is seeking private investment to pay for some of the cost.

That’s not good enough, said Mica, a longtime Amtrak critic. He wants to take away the rail company’s 363 miles of track and infrastructure, place it under the control of the Transportation Department or a new government-created corporation, and solicit bids from private investors for the development, operation and maintenance of high speed service.

The plan will be incorporated in a long-term transportation spending bill the committee is drafting and expects to introduce in mid-June, Mica said.

Rep. John Duncan, R-Tenn., chairman of the House Transportation highway subcommittee, said Mica’s plan probably has enough support from Republicans to pass the House, but it is unlikely to be accepted by the Senate.