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Chasing Dollars for High-Speed Rail Grants

May 15

Written by: Grants Office, LLC
Sunday, May 15, 2011  RssIcon

By Christopher Haight
May 2011

On May 9, 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation, led by Secretary Ray LaHood, announced the reallocation of $2 billion in high-speed rail grants. The re-awarding of $2 billion came as the result of Florida rejecting initial high-speed rail funding that had been awarded under the previous governor, Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL).

The biggest regional winner by far was the Northeast with $795 million allocated towards the Boston-Washington corridor. The overall goal for improvements made to these lines is to increase speeds from 135 to 160 miles per hour. The Midwest received just over $400 million to upgrade lines between Detroit and Chicago and Chicago and St. Louis. California received another $300 million to continue its high-speed rail project between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

High-speed rail continues to be the source of debate among policymakers, interest groups, and other stakeholders. While supporters argue it will help foster economic growth among the connected cities and provide thousands of new jobs, detractors question its long-term viability. Grant funding has been the key source of investment of this priority on the Obama administration's transportation agenda and will likely play a key role in future years as well.

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