Even though the $2 billion HSR provision passed as part of the stimulus isn’t a sure thing yet, some state authorities are already getting giddy about getting their project funded. Here’s one about the Ohio HSR plan from MSNBC:
CINCINNATI – County officials have thrown their support behind high-speed rail, in hopes that the stimulus package might help pay for local infrastructure.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has proposal to reestablish a passenger rail connection between Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland, and rail proponents said some aspects of the plan would qualify for assistance from the federal government.
And Florida, which can’t seem to stick to any one plan for passenger rail in the state:
Local leaders are already working on bringing a commuter rail to Central Florida.
Now the Sunshine State is competing against 10 other states to bring Floridians a high speed rail.
The best part is it won’t cost you a dime.
Thats because the stimulus money would not require a local match.
We were looking for commuter rail. We might end up with high speed rail, said Orange County Commissioner Bill Segal. Its follow the money when the federal government offers money you take it.
Commissioner Segal has been in support of the rail projects.
The commuter rail will be funded by $1.5 million dollars of federal money but now Central Florida is in a good position to grab an even bigger chunk of federal dough through the stimulus package. That money would go to build the high speed rail.
They have to move fast and beat out other states.
“The best part is it won’t cost you a dime”? What? I hate to break it to Florida and Ohio, but $2 billion isn’t a huge amount, and states such as California and the Midwest HSR members have much more concrete plans that are probably going to receive the bulk of the funding. And that’s if this HSR money makes it through conference committee. Still, it’s good that the prospect of stimulus funding is getting people talking. Getting some rapid trains in this country looks like a real possibility in the coming years, but much of it is going to be driven by states. If they don’t get their act together and present solid plans, they’re not going to get any available federal money, and they’ll be left behind.