The $8 billion the U.S. Dept. of Transportation awarded in January for high-speed rail was a dramatic move, but it is far from a one-shot deal. DOT now is preparing to seek proposals for a new batch of rail grants, totaling more than $2.3 billion. If the first round, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, is any indicator, the next competition will attract a throng of applicants.
Karen Rae, deputy chief of DOT’s Federal Railroad Administration, says, “It’s a very new game. I think the one thing we know is the pent-up demand was huge.” Indeed, the ARRA round drew high-speed rail (HSR) proposals totaling $57 billion for the $8 billion available.