Policy Analysis | October 2010

High Speed Rail: Update from the Southern States

Sujit CanagaRetna

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently awarded the second round of federal grants to promote high-speed and intercity passenger rail in 23 states, including seven SLC states (Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia). While a bulk of the more than $2.4 billion in total grants were secured by California ($902 million) and Florida ($808 million), these federal disbursements for 54 rail projects scattered across the country will continue to enhance our nation's transportation infrastructure. The first round of rail grants were awarded by the Obama Administration (amounting to $8 billion) in January 2010 and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The latest round of rail grants sprang from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations act.

Some of the specific projects to be funded by this round of federal funding in the SLC states includes the following:

  • Florida - Supplement Florida's FY09 ARRA award to construct the high-speed rail line from Orlando to Tampa on a new 84-mile dedicated right-of-way, including the acquisition of train sets that will reach speeds of up to 180 mph = $ 800,000,000;
  • Georgia - Completion of a Service Development Plan and corridor environmental study for the Charlotte, NC - Atlanta, GA corridor, informed by a feasibility study = $ 4,100,000;
  • Missouri - Construction of a new 10,000-foot third main track with switches, signal, and switch upgrades to improve access to the Gateway Multimodal Center station in St. Louis = $ 3,608,700;
  • North Carolina - Eliminate eight busy grade crossings, improve safety and reliability on the corridor, and relocate the Charlotte station to the city's central business district where it will connect with local transit and a transit-oriented development community and be in close proximity to a new maintenance facility currently being constructed under the FY09 ARRA award. Completes an incremental phase of a larger capital program that will improve capacity and reliability and eventually lead to a fifth intercity passenger rail frequency between Raleigh and Charlotte = $ 22,000,000;
  • Oklahoma - Completion of a Service Development Plan and corridor environmental study for the Tulsa-Oklahoma City segment of the South Central High-Speed Rail Corridor = $ 2,242,050;
  • Texas - Completion of feasibility studies, a service development plan, and environmental work for the designated high-speed rail corridor of Oklahoma City to Dallas/Ft. Worth, with a potential extension to Austin and San Antonio = $ 5,600,000;
  • Virginia - Completion of project environmental studies/analysis and preliminary engineering for the Richmond, VA - Washington D.C. segment of the Southeast high-speed rail corridor = $ 44,308,000

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