Since the Department of Transportation announced the availability of an additional $2.4 billion for high-speed rail projects last month, governors and members of Congress from both major parties have been clamoring for the opportunity to participate.
As of our Monday deadline, we received more than 90 applications from 24 states, the District of Columbia, and Amtrak. The preliminary total of those requests is nearly $10 billion, more than four times what we have available.
Why is demand for high-speed rail support so high?
Because elected officials have seen the immediate benefits of jobs where rail work has already begun. They’ve seen these jobs in Maine–where the Downeaster extension to Brunswick is under construction–and they’ve seen them in Illinois–where 96 miles of track are now being laid for the Chicago-St. Louis high-speed corridor.