Fulfilling part of the Obama Administration's early commitment to create the first national high speed rail system, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced a US$2.4 billion investment in 54 high speed rail projects in 23 states.
With over 30 rail manufacturers and suppliers agreeing to base their operations on U.S. soil, these projects will bring much needed jobs to the recession-hit country.
The bad news is that the $2.4 billion represents only one-third of the $8.8 billion in funding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act awarded to 132 project applications for high-speed rail.
The Department's press release highlighted where some of the funds will be allocated:
- California received more than $901 million, including $715 million for the construction of new high-speed rail lines in the Central Valley. The state has made significant investments in passenger rail that have led to remarkable ridership growth.
- Florida received $800 million for the Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail corridor. The state's long-term vision is for a high-speed rail line that connects Tampa, Orlando, Miami and other communities.
- Iowa received $230 million to create a new intercity passenger rail service between Iowa City and Chicago through the Quad Cities. When completed, the service will form an integral part of the existing efforts to develop the Chicago Hub intercity rail system in the Midwest.
- Michigan received $161 million for a high-speed rail corridor connecting Detroit and Chicago, the two largest cities in the Midwest. The long-term vision for this corridor includes doubling the number of daily round trips between Detroit and Chicago.
“In the 20th century, our vision led to the interstate highway system,” said FRA Administrator Joe Szabo. “In the 21st century, our vision will give us a world-class network of high-speed passenger rail corridors.”
Image Credit: Jon Curnow via Flickr
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