Today U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced an additional $2 billion in High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program funding, bringing the total awards for the program to $10.1 billion.
The $2 billion awarded today by the Department of Transportation was largely redistributed from initial awards to Florida, whose governor canceled the state’s high-speed rail project due to concerns about cost overruns and operating subsidies. DOT distributed today’s funds to 22 projects in 15 states, but three big winners together received over $1.8 billion or about 90% of the additional money.
Secretary LaHood focused on the job-creating benefits of these grants, stating that the investments we’re making today will help states across the country create jobs, spur economic development and boost manufacturing in their communities.
On the theory that good news on high speed and intercity rail should be savored, we will roll out our view of the big winners on three successive days, in reverse order.
The third biggest winner in this latest round of funding is California.
The California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) today received $300 million to help extend by an additional 20 miles construction of an initial 113-mile Central Valley segment (from Bakersfield to Fresno) of its proposed statewide system. The CHSRA has already received almost $3 billion in federal funds for final design and construction of the Central Valley segment. The additional funds will allow CHSRA to extend the initial construction segment from Fresno north to a wye junction, where one future track will be constructed to San Jose and another future track will be constructed to Merced.
Curt Pringle, chairman of CHSRA, said today: It is a testament to the strength of California’s project that we have won 40 percent of every federal dollar awarded for the development of high-speed rail. In the past 15 months we have won the lion’s share of federal dollars, unlocked state bond funds and began engaging the private sector to secure their future participation, so that we can begin construction and begin creating thousands of quality jobs next year.
The proposed California high-speed rail system will eventually traverse up to 800 miles and is currently estimated to cost about $45 billion.
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