After President Obama’s State of the Union address at 9pm ET, the President and his administration will set out on a tour to announce which high-speed rail projects will receive stimulus funds.
On Thursday, the President will travel to Tampa, Florida, with Vice President Joe Biden to make their announcement in front of a town hall meeting.
Will a high-speed rail line be coming to a city near you? Keep reading to find out where corridors could be built and how much money states are in line to receive.
President Obama will award $8 billion in grants to jump-start high-speed rail infrastructure projects across the country.
This money will reportedly go to state governments to help launch new corridors or upgrade existing ones. Thirteen corridors are expected to receive awards on Thursday and as many as 31 states could receive some funding.
Because the meeting is being held in Florida, it seems likely that the state’s proposal for a line connecting Orlando and Tampa will be one of the projects to receive funding. The 800-mile-long line in California from San Diego to Sacramento is rumored to be a strong contender, as well as a nine-state proposal in the Midwest.
Back in September, an infrastructure coalition called America 2050 released a report ranking potential corridors. According to their report, cities in the Northeast ranked highest with a New York-Washington D.C. link topping the list.
The Obama administration is spinning the project not only as a transportation improvement, but also as a job stimulator. Officials estimate that a high-speed rail project could create or save tens of thousands of jobs over time.
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But some may need more convincing. Those skeptical of the project have pointed out that there are no engineering companies or manufacturers based in the U.S. that have experience in high-speed rail. They also say that spreading the money around to too many projects could leave none of them with enough money to get off the ground.
While it’s encouraging to see that America’s trains are becoming a higher priority, it may take more than this “down payment” to bring our rail system up to speed.
By Dan Bence for PeterGreenberg.com.
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