WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- High-speed rail and intercity passenger rail proposals in 31 states and the District of Columbia got the go-ahead today with the announcement of nearly $8 billion in grant awards as part of the federal economic recovery program.
"This historic day is the culmination of more than a decade of work by state DOTs across the country to revive passenger rail as a major transportation option in America," said Gene Conti, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation and Chair of the AASHTO Standing Committee on Rail. "This is also only the beginning of that resurgence. States stand ready to plan, build, and deliver high speed rail for the United States."
AASHTO Executive Director John Horsley said, "These projects represent the building blocks of our national intercity rail system. They will create good jobs and reinvigorate domestic manufacturing in the U.S. State departments of transportation have spearheaded the effort to develop and fund a national intercity passenger rail system. They are now at work with the FRA and Amtrak to shape the future through technical standards, pooled procurement, and other policies."
A new AASHTO website launched today in conjunction with the grant announcement, www.highspeed-rail.org, provides a one-stop shop for information on high-speed rail and state intercity passenger rail service.
The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) provided $8 billion in funding for high-speed and intercity passenger rail. Thirty-eight states submitted proposals totaling $57 billion for these funds. President Barack Obama and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced the awards today in Tampa, Florida, which received one of the major grant awards of $1.25 billion. California received the largest funding for projects throughout the state, totaling $2.344 billion. For full details go to www.highspeed-rail.org.
Conti said, "This is only the first step. Continued federal funding and support is crucial to ensuring the building of a national system."
SOURCE American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials