Additional federal funding for the new Orlando to Tampa high-speed rail passenger link “should ensure the project’s chance for successful completion,” said Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.) in response to a planned announcement today by the USDOT.
The award for the Florida project is the third from USDOT and is $342.3 million. The first award for $1.2 billion was announced in January 2010, and the second of $800 million was announced in October 2010.
Micacontinued, “This strong commitment will help make certain that the state and local community governments and taxpayers are not left on the hook for completing construction or subsidizing future operational costs. It is now essential that the private sector step up to the plate and submit proposals that cover any gap in funding the balance of the estimated $2.7 billion megaproject.”
He explained, “While passenger levels on the new rail system from the Orlando Airport to the tourist area and Disney World are expected to produce substantial revenue, and while today’s announcement should ensure construction of the entire system, passenger service to Tampa may need to be added incrementally as the Tampa Bay area develops a future fixed transit regional distribution system.”
Funds from U.S. DOT are being reallocated from several other states where state officials have backed away from passenger rail projects that had been originally selected to receive federal assistance from some $8 billion designated.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today that $1.195 billion in high-speed rail funds originally designated for Wisconsin and Ohio will be redirected to other states eager to develop high-speed rail corridors across the U.S. Wisconsin has suspended work under its existing high-speed rail agreement and the incoming Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio have both indicated that they will not move forward to use high-speed rail money received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As a result, $1.195 billion will be redirected to high-speed rail projects already underway in other states.
LaHood said Florida could receive up to $342.3 million for the fast trains project.
“High-speed rail will modernize America’s valuable transportation network, while reinvigorating the manufacturing sector and putting people back to work in good-paying jobs,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “I am pleased that so many other states are enthusiastic about the additional support they are receiving to help bring America’s high-speed rail network to life.”
The Recovery Act included $8 billion to launch a national high-speed rail program that will modernize America’s transportation network, spur economic development domestically and keep the U.S. competitive with other leading nations. High-speed rail grants announced under the Recovery Act can be used only for high-speed rail projects and not for other transportation projects.