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The U.S. Department of Transportation announced this week
that 54 high-speed rail projects in 23 states would "share in $2.4 billion
to continue developing America's first nationwide program of high-speed
intercity passenger rail service." DOT allocated much of the money to
California and Florida, $901 million and $800 million, respectively.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, an
initial down payment of $8 billion was set aside for high-speed rail. When it
was announced, applicants during the first round of awards last fall submitted
project proposals totaling $55 billion. This time, the Federal Railroad
Administration received 132 applications from 32 states totaling $8.8 billion,
surpassing not only the $2.4 billion made available in this round, but also the
entire allocated amount for nationwide development.
"Demand for high-speed rail dollars is intense and it
demonstrates just how important this historic initiative is," according to
a statement from DOT secretary Ray 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."
Others that received a portion of the $2.4 billion are Iowa
($230 million) and Michigan ($161 million).