U.S. to invest $2.4 billion in interstate high-speed rail projects

October 28th, 2010 - 10:29 pm ICT by BNO News  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Thursday announced that $2.4 billion will be put in the 54 high-speed rail projects in 23 states in America’s first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service.

The Department’s Federal Railroad Administration received 132 applications from 32 states totaling $8.8 billion, more than three times the $2.4 billion available. During the first round of awards in the fall of 2009, applicants submitted more than $55 billion in project proposals for the initial $8 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“Demand for high-speed rail dollars is intense and it demonstrates just how important this historic initiative is,” said Secretary LaHood. “States understand that high-speed rail represents a unique opportunity to create jobs, revitalize our manufacturing base, spur economic development and provide people with an environmentally friendly transportation option.”

More than 30 rail manufacturers and suppliers, both domestic and foreign, have agreed to establish or expand their bases of operations in the United States if they are hired to build America’s next generation high-speed lines, a commitment the Obama Administration secured to help ensure new jobs are created here at home.

The State of California, for example, received more than $901 million, including $715 million for the construction of new high-speed rail lines in the Central Valley. Florida received $800 million for the Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail corridor, while Iowa received $230 million to create a new intercity passenger rail service between Iowa City and Chicago through the Quad Cities.
In addition, Michigan received $161 million for a high-speed rail corridor connecting Detroit and Chicago, the two largest cities in the Midwest.

The money is being awarded for a range of activities, such as construction of track and stations, purchase of new passenger equipment, and planning studies to develop new high-speed rail service.

In addition to the $8 billion down payment from the Recovery Act, additional funding for high-speed rail has come from several sources.

These include $95 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s FY 2009 appropriations and remaining money from a related FY 2008 appropriations program, and from the Department’s FY 2010 appropriations, which included at least $2.125 billion for high-speed rail service development programs, $245 million for individual projects and $50 million for planning and multi-state proposal activities.

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