Investment expected to save or create tens of thousands of jobs.
President Barack Obama has announced that $8 billion to develop America’s first nationwide programme of high-speed intercity passenger rail service.
Awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the funding will serve as a down-payment on developing or laying the groundwork for 13 new, large-scale high-speed rail corridors across the country.
The major corridors are part of a total of 31 states receiving investments, including smaller projects and planning work that will help lay the groundwork for future high-speed intercity rail service.
$1.25 will develop a new high-speed rail corridor between Tampa and Orlando with trains up to 168 miles per hour and $2.25 billion to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco and points in between with trains running up to 220 miles per hour.
Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, this investment is expected to create or save tens of thousands of jobs over time in areas like track-laying, manufacturing, planning and engineering, and rail maintenance and operations.
Over 30 domestic and foreign rail manufacturers have agreed to establish or expand their base of operations in the United States if they are hired to build America’s next generation high-speed rail lines.
In addition to the $8 billion awarded, the plan also included $1 billion a year for five years in the federal budget as a down payment to jump-start the programme. Applicants submitted over $55 billion in project proposals for the initial $8 billion in funds.
Obama said: “Through the Recovery Act, we are making the largest investment in infrastructure since the Interstate Highway System was created.”
“That investment is how we can break ground across the country, putting people to work building high-speed rail lines, because there’s no reason why Europe or China should have the fastest trains when we can build them right here in America.”
The Recovery Act