DOT spends $2B for high-speed rail tracks, cars and signals

Spending is part of $10B economic stimulus law fund

The government will spend $2 billion in economic stimulus law funding on high-speed railroad projects, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced May 16.

The 2009 stimulus law included $10 billion for advanced rail development, improvements and construction, of which nearly $6 billion has been obligated to date, including the $2 billion.

The winning projects include $795 million for Northeast Corridor rail upgrades, said to increase speeds from 135 to 160 miles per hour on segments of the trip.


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Another $404 million is dedicated for the Chicago-Detroit route and the Chicago-St. Louis route. California will receive $300 million toward the nation’s first 220-mile-per-hour high-speed rail system from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

The goal is to provide access to high-speed rail for 80 percent of the nation’s population in 25 years. At the same time, with a “Buy American” requirement, the spending will create jobs and produce new and more efficient rail technologies, LaHood said.

Nearly 100 applications were received for the current round of spending. The winning projects include Amtrak and programs in 15 states.

In addition to station, bridge and track construction projects, the projects include:

  • Kalamazoo, Mich. -- $197 million to rehabilitate track and signal systems.
  • New York Empire Corridor -- $58 million for improvements to tracks, stations and signals.
  • Dallas -- $14 million for engineering and environmental work.
  • Minnesota – Northern Lights Express - $5 million for engineering and environmental work.
  • Charlotte, N.C. -- $4 million for environmental analysis.


About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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