WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) received 278 pre-applications requesting a total of $102 billion in grant funding for high-speed rail projects. Money will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail competitive grant program, but the ARRA provides only $8 billion to develop high-speed rail networks. President Obama proposed a $1 billion annual investment to further this effort.

Forty states and the District of Columbia filed pre-applications. Regionally, the Northeast submitted 79 pre-applications requesting $35 billion; the South/Southeast submitted 44 pre-applications requesting $16 billion; the Midwest submitted 47 pre-applications requesting $13 billion; and the West submitted 108 pre-applications requesting $38 billion.

Since not all proposed projects can be funded, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said that it will work with states and regions to identify priorities and prepare for ongoing high-speed passenger rail development. DOT issued a strategic plan for high-speed rail in April 2009, followed by guidelines for states and groups of states to apply for the economic recovery money in June 2009. It expects to announce the first round of merit-based grants in the fall.

The final application deadline is August 24 for funding on individual projects and planning, and October 2 for corridor programs. More information about the Obama Administration’s vision for high-speed rail in America is available online at www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/31.