DOT Gets $10B in Requests for $2.4B Florida Rail Funds
The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has received almost $10 billion in applications for the $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail funds that Florida rejected.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said on April 6 that 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak submitted more than 90 applications for the turned-back rail money. The deadline for submitting requests was April 4.
DOT now will begin to review the proposals. The department said that it had not yet determined when it will announce the winning applications.
The funds became available when Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) turned down $2.4 billion that U.S. DOT had awarded to the state last year for a planned line from Tampa to Orlando.
Last year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Wisconsin Gov Scott Walker, both Republicans, also had rejected a total of $1.2 billion in rail funds awarded to their states by U.S. DOT.
DOT in December redistributed the Ohio and Wisconsin money to 14 states, relying on applications those states already had filed.
For the Florida aid, however, LaHood decided to issue a call for new proposals.
Applicants are: Amtrak, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
DOT's Federal Railroad Administration did not yet have a breakdown of the amounts each state requested, but some applicants issued statements outlining their proposals.
California has applied for all $2.4 billion, including about $1.4 billion for extending initial construction of its rail system, to Merced and to Bakersfield.
Amtrak said on April 4 it applied for about $1.3 billion, all for projects on its Northeast Corridor. By far the largest element of its application is $570 million towards a $720-million replacement for the Portal Bridge over New Jersey's Hackensack River.
The railroad also is seeking $188 million for preliminary engineering and environmental analysis for two new tunnels under the Hudson River.
Washington state said it applied for $120 million for projects on its portion of the Cascades line, which runs from Portland, Ore., to Vancouver, B.C.
New York state has applied for $517 million, including $295 million for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's plan to ease congestion at the Harold Interlocking in Queens.