No winners yet for the $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail funds that Florida's governor rejected. U.S. DOT is calling for applications by April 4 from states seeking a share of the money.
U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood had told reporters after a Senate hearing on March 9, "We'll be making some announcements very soon about the redistribution of the Florida money." But the announcement turned out not to be a list of awards, but only what the process would be.
Among those seeking the funds are states along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The same day as the hearing, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) hosted a meeting in his office with LaHood and four other Senate Democrats from New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware seeking the money that Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) turned down on Feb. 16.
On Feb. 25, those five senators and five others from the corridor, including lawmakers from Massachusetts, Maryland and New York, wrote to LaHood requesting the money.
They said the corridor carries more than 250- million passengers per year and that Amtrak's Acela is "the only operating high-speed train in the country," But the senators add that corridor states have received less than 2% of the $10.5 billion U.S. DOT has awarded for high-speed rail since 2009.
States outside the Northeast are interested in the Florida money, too, including Washington state, says Paula Hammond, secretary of Washington's DOT.