Demand for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants for high-speed rail far outstrips the $8 billion available. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration reported on July 16 that it had received 278 "pre-applications" for the rail grants, with applicants requesting a total of $102 billion. The department expects to award the first batch of economic-stimulus rail grants in the fall. In another sign of the red-hot interest in the fast trains, the House Appropriations Committee on July 17 included $4 billion for high-speed rail in its fiscal 2010 transportation spending bill. That quadruples the amount President Obama requested.
The growing need to collect, store and analyze the huge volumes of data collected from infrastructure project stakeholders is generating a new growth area for construction-sector firms, IT vendors and professionals.