WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that 54 high-speed rail projects in 23 states will share in $2.4 billion to continue developing America’s first nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service.
The 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.
“Some of these federal grants will improve current Amtrak services, while others will introduce new conventional or high-speed routes,” said Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “In all cases, Amtrak stands ready to offer our expertise to our state partners to help implement these important projects to improve our national intercity passenger rail network.”