High-Speed Rail Funds En Route
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
A day after delivering his first State of the Union address, President Obama heads to Florida to showcase $8 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail projects in the Sunshine State and 30 others.
Nationally, 13 rail corridors will receive funding from a program that is part of the federal stimulus package and Democrats say "could rival the interstate highways begun in the Eisenhower era," The Associated Press reported.
Obama and Vice President Biden will appear in Tampa, Fla. — with top aides appearing around the country over the next two days — to showcase the rail-improvement initiative, which the president has promoted as a way to create or save thousands of jobs and modernize the American infrastructure system. In his State of the Union speech on Wednesday (Jan. 27), Obama called job-creation his top priority.
California , Florida and Illinois are among the biggest winners in the rail-building program, but the Pacific Northwest and New England also will see substantial sums. For a complete list of the projects receiving funding, as well as specific dollar amounts, click here.
As Stateline.org reported earlier , states are taking very different approaches in promoting faster trains. California, for example, wants to build a new passenger rail network that could whisk riders along at over 200 mph. Midwestern states, meanwhile, plan to upgrade existing rails leading to Obama's home city of Chicago, but those trains would only hit speeds of 110 mph.