USDOT Reallocates $1.1B for High-Speed Rail

Nancy Anderson
Posted by

Recently, we wrote that the U.S. Department of Transportation had allocated an additional US$2.5 billion for high-speed rail projects. Yesterday, Secretary Ray LaHood took almost half of it back.

I’m oversimplifying, of course, but that’s essentially what’s happened here. $1.2 billion was awarded to projects in Wisconsin and Ohio, and that money has now been transferred to other projects, with the majority going to Florida and California. The reason for this reallocation is the election of governors in those states who campaigned against rail expansion. Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker stated that he would refuse any monies awarded for rail development; Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich said that his administration believes that the rail project would be too expensive to operate.

California Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger readily accepted the additional $624 million, as the state has a massive high-speed rail network in the planning stages, and has already received over $3 billion in federal assistance for their program. Florida’s Orlando-Tampa line received another $342 million on top of the nearly $2 billion in total from this latest round, and from January’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding.

It remains to be seen exactly how these additional funds will affect the project timetables in the recipient states. Hopefully, it means that new construction can begin sooner on the proposed rail lines, strengthening the states’ transportation infrastructure, and putting American construction workers back on projects.
Train photograph courtesy user Dewet, used under Creative Commons license (BY-SA-2.0).
Looking for a job in construction? Visit to get started on the path to your new career.

Mike Wrightly is mostly diesel fumes and duct tape; he grew up around heavy equipment, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering.



Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch