Thursday, October 28, 2010

White House stokes high-speed rail

The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced an additional $2.4 billion in grants for high-speed rail projects throughout the country.

In 2009, the DOT provided $8 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money for high-speed rail projects. The funding announced today by DOT Secretary Ray LaHood will go to 54 rail projects in 23 states.

The funding is part of the Obama administration's commitment to develop America's first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service, federal officials said.

Currently, the "Acela Express" of Amtrak, which runs between Boston and Washington D.C., is the only high-speed rail line in the U.S.

DOT'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, officials said.

"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, LaHood said.

No comments: