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Posted at 3:29 PM ET, 12/ 9/2010

DOT redirects high-speed rail funds

By Bloomberg News and Staff Reports

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said $1.2 billion in high-speed rail funds originally designated for Wisconsin and Ohio will be redirected to states "eager" to develop faster-rail corridors.

California and Florida will be the top recipients of the money, receiving as much as $624 million and $342.3 million respectively, the Transportation Department said in a statement today.

DOT recently announced awards of $2.4 billion for high-speed rail projects in 23 states, including $45.4 million for Virginia to help fund studies and preliminary engineering to improve service between Richmond and Washington. The administration previously distributed $8 billion in stimulus money for high-speed rail projects.

"High-speed rail will modernize America's valuable transportation network, while invigorating the manufacturing sector and putting people back to work in good-paying jobs," LaHood said in the statement. "I am pleased that so many other states are enthusiastic about the additional support."

LaHood said last month that the money would be redirected to states that would make use of it for high-speed rail.

Wisconsin and Ohio elected Republican governors in November who campaigned against the rail projects. Wisconsin Governor- elect Scott Walker said he'd refuse the $810 million designated for connecting Milwaukee and Madison. Ohio's John Kasich has said the planned Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati train would be too expensive to operate. The governors had said they wanted to divert the money to road projects, but LaHood rejected that idea.

The money will be redirected as follows, according to DOT:

-- California: up to $624 million
-- Florida: up to $342.3 million
-- Washington State: up to $161.5 million
-- Illinois: up to $42.3 million
-- New York: up to $7.3 million
-- Maine: up to $3.3 million
-- Massachusetts: up to $2.8 million
-- Vermont: up to $2.7 million
-- Missouri up to $2.2 million
-- Wisconsin: up to $2 million for the Hiawatha line
-- Oregon: up to $1.6 million
-- North Carolina: up to $1.5 million
-- Iowa: up to $309,080
-- Indiana: up to $364,980

Related stories:

State projects will drive high-speed rail funding

By Bloomberg News and Staff Reports  | December 9, 2010; 3:29 PM ET
Categories:  Passenger Rail, Transportation News  
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another examples of conservatives who don't understand transportation issues and the importance of rail.

Posted by: destewar | December 9, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

No, the politicians in the midwest did the right thing. You don't invest that much money on something with such high operating costs especially when your population is basically flat. You won't come close to getting your investment back no matter how you measure it.

Look at this map:

It makes sense to build rail along the coastline so that explains CA and FL. If you want to criticize, why are there no plans for Arizona, Utah, and Nevada?

Posted by: slar | December 9, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

No plans for Arizona is easy to explain. McCain. Your methods for measuring whether you get your money back is flawed. Public roads don't "pay for themselves" either. But the reason we spend tax dollars on them is increased economic productivity. You have to apply that same standard to railroads, and not look at them as a business. Is the interstate system a self-supporting corporation? No.

Posted by: destewar | December 10, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Actually, public roads do pay for themselves when you consider the economic productivity they generate. High-speed rail in the midwest will never generate enough commerce to be worth the investment. In high growth areas like the southwest, it could work because new construction can be centered around emerging rail lines. In the midwest there is hardly any growth to speak of and therefore nothing to get people closer to a hypothetical rail line.

I'm not anti-rail. Really, I'm not. I am anti-let's-build-rail-everywhere-even-if-it-makes-no-sense-to-do-so.

Posted by: slar | December 10, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

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