US government kick-starts $8 billion in high-speed rail projects

Funding fuels projects to whisk passengers from San Francisco to Anahiem, Orlando to Tampa, Chicago to St. Louis, and Minneapolis to Chicago.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

The US federal government is providing $8 billion in grants -- coming from economic stimulus money -- to get things moving on the nation's first high-speed, intercity rail service between a number of major cities.

US Department of Transportation Proposed High-Speed Rail Network

California will receive $2.25 billion, the largest amount for any state, in federal economic stimulus funds to develop a high-speed rail line running from Anaheim to San Francisco. Additional lines will also include a Midwest line from Chicago to St. Louis and one in Florida running from Tampa to Orlando. Trains will run up to 220 miles an hour.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, trains on the proposed Anaheim-to-San Francisco line, which is projected to ultimately cost about $42 billion, "would whisk passengers the 400 or so miles in no more than 2 hours, 40 minutes. The project would take a decade to complete, with extensions to San Diego and Sacramento planned."

Florida will receive $1.25 billion to help build a high-speed rail system from Orlando to Tampa and, eventually, to Miami.

A $1.1 billion grant will fund a high-speed corridor between Chicago and St. Louis, and eventually to Kansas City.

An $823 million award to link Minneapolis to Milwaukee and Chicago.

New York state will receive $151 million for a high-speed rail line from Niagara Falls to New York City.

The California High-Speed Rail Blog has provided links to White House has info sheets on what each state received. Some highlights:

UPDATE:  For further reference, Wired magazine has just published a nice summary of who, what, when, where and why as it regards high-speed rail in the United States.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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