U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced that 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak are all in the running for $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail money. The money became available when Florida Governor Rick Scott canceled a high-speed rail project previously earmarked to receive the funds, citing fears that the state would have to make up operating losses.
California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Texas are among the states hoping to receive a piece of the available money. According to California Governor Jerry Brown, his state hopes to use the funds as a building block for a statewide network of rail lines linking high-speed and intercity lines to regional lines. Some of the Midwestern states hope to use the money to buy new trains, build tracks and signals and install railroad crossing upgrades.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) will review the applications based on each project’s ability to reduce energy consumption, improve the efficiency of a region’s overall transportation network, and generate sustained economic activity along the corridor. The date for project selections has yet to be determined.