Applications are in for the first batch of federal high-speed-rail grants financed largely by $8 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. An unofficial round-one tally shows states are seeking about $6.6 billion. That is far below the $102.5 billion in “pre-applications” states filed in July, but it reflects the first round’s emphasis on individual projects that are ready to start. Moreover, with the construction industry struggling, the new applications represent a substantial amount of potential infrastructure work, including bright possibilities for engineering firms. The dollars are expected to be even larger in the next round of applications, which will cover high-speed corridor plans.
The Federal Railroad Administration at ENR press time had not released an official count of round one applications received and dollars requested by the Aug. 24 deadline. But the blog Transport Politic says a survey of public announcements shows at least 19 states had applied for a total of $6.61 billion. FRA now will begin to evaluate the submissions and plans to announce the winners in October.