WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that nearly $80 million in grants were delivered to states as part of President Obama’s high-speed and intercity passenger rail program. These grants will go toward development of a new Recovery Act-funded, high-speed rail system in Florida as well as critical upgrades to existing passenger rail service throughout the country.

The $80 million in funding will benefit projects in many regions of the country, including:
• $66.6 million for program management and preliminary engineering on the planned 168-mph high-speed rail service between Tampa and Orlando, Fla. This project will create jobs and generate economic activity as 84 miles of track are constructed, stations are built or enhanced, and equipment is purchased. Along with California, Florida was the only state to submit plans to the DOT to create a new, high-speed rail line.
• $6.2 million for track relocation work in California on the Capitol Corridor which will help bring about fewer delays and faster travel times along a route that connects San Francisco and Sacramento, the state capital.
• $5.7 million for environmental assessments of planned new stations on the route between Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., that will host passenger rail service operating at speeds up to 110 mph.
• $1 million for planning projects to improve service on the Empire Corridor in New York. The 468-mile Empire Corridor connects all of New York’s largest cities. The near-term vision for the corridor is to increase passenger train speeds to 110 mph.
• $100,000 for creation of the first-ever rail plan for the state of New Mexico. This plan will help the state create a blueprint for passenger rail development that will eventually link major cities in the Southwest.

The president’s $8 billion down payment for high-speed rail, which was set in motion through a long-term plan announced in April 2009, is expected to create or save tens of thousands of jobs over time in areas like track-laying, manufacturing, planning, engineering, and rail maintenance and operations. The majority of the Recovery Act passenger rail funding will go toward developing new, large-scale, high-speed rail programs.

In addition to the $8 billion in Recovery Act funding, the administration proposes a minimum $1 billion a year for five years in the federal budget to jump-start this multi-decade effort. Congress funded this program above and beyond the president’s initial request and allocated $2.5 billion for fiscal year 2010.

To learn more about President Obama’s vision for high-speed rail in America, visit www.fra.dot.gov/Pages/31.shtml.