A few months ago, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced our American Recovery and Reinvestment Act High-Speed and Inter-City Passenger Rail grants. Today, we delivered the first round of those funds to states.
The President's vision for an American high-speed rail system will change the way Americans travel. And the grants DOT released today are just the beginning steps of making that vision a reality.
The interactive map on http://www.whitehouse.gov/high-speed-rail is loaded with information about HSR corridors.
As Vice President Biden noted today:
"Delivering these funds is an important step forward in our efforts to upgrade and transform America's transportation system, while spurring economic activity and creating jobs here at home."
And he is absolutely correct. Because, as I made perfectly clear last month on this blog, "Those trains and their components will be made by skilled American workers."
Today's funds will begin spurring that economic activity through projects in several regions across America.
The largest portion, $66.6 million, supports preliminary engineering on Florida's planned 168-mph corridor between Tampa and Orlando. We're very excited about the Florida corridor because that state and California were the only ones to submit plans for brand new high-speed rail lines.
The rest of today's funds, $12.3 million, goes to states for critical upgrades to existing passenger rail service in preparation for high-speed projects. Those projects include:
- California's "Capital Corridor" between San Francisco and Sacramento
- Wisconsin's Milwaukee-Madison route
- New York's 468-mile "Empire Corridor"
- New Mexico's rail blueprint that will eventually link the Southwest's major cities
Now, throughout the process of implementing a renewed American passenger rail system, we are talking about tens of thousands of jobs. Whether planning routes or laying track along those routes, whether manufacturing equipment or maintaining that equipment, and whether engineering rail systems or operating those systems, the President's vision will put Americans to work.
And, when the dust settles, this nation will have a world-class passenger rail system supporting a world-class economy.