The Environmental Law & Policy Center wants you to know that reports of high-speed rail funding being cut by recent efforts of Republicans in the House of Congress have been exaggerated, and that many projects will still go forward.
As we recently noted, billions were offered up to initiatives in Florida, which Governor Rick Scott rejected. These were then bounced back to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), who opened up a $2.4 billion competitive bidding program. Then came the announcement that $2.9 billion was cut from the 2011 budget, which is true.
So how does this math add up? Well, the GOP-led budget cut $2.5 billion from high-speed rail efforts for this year, and $4 million from funds the DOT already had set aside, leaving $2 billion for programs which will go to shovel-ready projects that are being reviewed by the Federal Railroad Administration, including plans in states like Wisconsin, and yes, even Florida.
We recently reported that the APTA claims a national rail system could produce 1.3 million jobs, and that large scale projects were planned in China and Europe. One thing’s for sure, when billions are available, the money is sure to attract interested parties.