WASHINGTON - Bond-financed high-speed rail projects are not likely to be crippled by a last-minute decision to scale back a proposal in the final tax bill that exempts the bonds from the private-activity volume cap, rail proponents said yesterday.

Municipal bond proponents and lobbyists familiar with high-speed rail projects concede that a move by conferees to limit the exemption to governmentally owned projects may be an impediment. However, the provision probably will not turn out to be an insurmountable obstacle to using tax-exempt financing for most projects, they said.

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