The Competition for Federal Rail Funding

On Monday states submitted their application to receive federal funding for rail, beginning the new federal stimulus program created to increase high-speed rail in the United States.  States were ready with a slew of funding requests.  California alone submitted 42 applications, totaling $1.1 Billion.  North Carolina asked for $76 million and Virginia asked for $75 million.  The Federal Railroad Administration grants will be awarded in late September or early October.  One factor that could influence the Federal Railroad Administration's decisions is how much money the states themselves are willing to contribute. While there is a lot of enthusiasm for rail, it will take America a long time to catch up with Japanese and European counterparts with trains that travel up to 200 mph.  Many of the FRA grants may go to rail projects with trains traveling at 79mph.  FRA Administrator Joseph Szabo explains that this is just the beginning of a lengthy undertaking, similar to the decades-long process of building up the U.S. Interstates Highway system.  The administration ‘intends to transform the way Americans travel.’

For more details, read the full WSJ article.  If you want to share your opinion about rail in Ohio, take the Ohio 3C Survey.