And again, this is less than three years after we even had the enabling legislation to have a federal grant program.
Is it fair for me to say that what these obligations do is that…it clears the way for either design and construction contract awards or putting them out to bid?
It basically clears the way for project delivery, ranging from environmental, preliminary engineering, final design, and, in many cases, construction.
I just wanted to get your view of the outlook for federal funding, going forward. Fiscal 11 [HSR aid] was zeroed out. And the [fiscal 2012] appropriations picture is zero in the House…coming out of subcommittee, and only $100 million out of the Senate [Appropriations] committee. What is that going to do to the program, having what perhaps might be a two-year hiatus in new money?
Ten billion dollars…is just an unprecedented level of investment. [In years past] we never even would have thought about having that much investment in the overall system. I’m talking as a former outsider, at the state level, [who] was advocating for a federal [funding] partner. So we’re very focused on the $10 billion and good projects.
We also have a clear vision from the [Obama] administration in the American Jobs Act, that understands and recognizes that all of our infrastructure, whether it’s educational or transportation infrastructure, is important to the future of the country and clearly the administration continues to see rail as part of that. And that’s the way we look at it.
So again, we go back to that goal, which is: Get these projects going, show what impact that $10 billion has—that’s the best thing we can do and that’s what we should be doing. And it is just an absolutely unprecedented amount of funds going into rail. So we intend to stay focused on showing what that $10 billion can do for the country.