Last week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that more than 30 rail manufacturers and suppliers, both domestic and foreign, have committed to establish or expand their base of operations in the United States if they are chosen by states or groups of states to build America’s next generation high-speed rail lines.
LaHood made his announcement at a discussion with more than 100 business leaders, union representatives, industry groups and experts on President Barack Obama’s vision for the development of high-speed rail and intercity passenger rail in Washington, D.C.
“Our goal is to develop a national high-speed rail network, create good jobs here in America and help reinvigorate our manufacturing base,” said LaHood. “We know these are tough economic times for many folks and we believe that U.S. rail manufacturers and suppliers will benefit greatly from this new program. We also look forward to establishing joint ventures with foreign firms who can provide expertise and establish or expand their operations here in the U.S.”
In April, President Obama released a strategic plan outlining his vision for high speed rail in America. The plan identifies $8 billion provided in the Recovery Act and $1 billion a year for five years requested in the federal budget as a down payment to jump-start the program.
“We believe that the President’s plan for high-speed rail will provide a real transportation alternative for millions of Americans, while also creating jobs in many communities throughout the country,” said Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Joe Szabo.
The Federal Railroad Administration has received numerous grant applications from states and groups of states. This includes 45 applications from 24 states totaling approximately $50 billion to advance large high-speed rail corridor programs and 214 applications from 34 states totaling $7 billion for corridor planning and smaller projects. Award announcements will be made this winter.
A live Webcast of the event, as well as an archived version, can be viewed at: www.tvworldwide.com/events/dot/091204.