To announce the award of $8 billion in high-speed-rail grants, President Obama and Vice-President Biden paid a Jan. 28 visit to Tampa, the end point of one of the rail segments that won a share of the money.
Obama told a crowd at the University of Tampa, that the new line will represent "building for the future" and producing jobs. "I'm excited," he said. "I'm going to come back down here and ride it"--drawing laughs from the audience. The line was part of his remarks at a "town hall meeting" at the university.
He also talked up the merits of spending on infrastructure, calling it "a two-fer, because it creates jobs immediately and it lays the foundation for a vibrant economy for in the future"--and had good things to say about the idea of an infrastructure "bank".
The $8 billion for rail comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Congress approved an additional $2.5 billion for the U.S. Dept. of Transportation in its 2010 appropriations. DOT hasn't decided how that $2.5 billion will be parceled out.
Biden says the administration supports more rail money over the next several years, but even adding that aid, it still would be "a down payment on a truly national program that's going to reshape the way we travel."