Florida among 10 states asking for high-speed rail funds
Florida's $1.1 billion request earlier this month to the Federal Railroad Administration to complete financing for the Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail line faces competition from nine other states.
The U.S. Department of Transportation said this week that the Federal Railroad Administration received 20 funding applications from 10 states for high-speed rail corridor development.
Those applications, totaling $7.8 billion, and another 57 applications from 18 states for $700 million for smaller, individual projects that are ready for construction, will compete for funding from a $2.3 billion pool of federal money appropriated this year.
"While not all proposed projects can be funded, the department will evaluate the applications to identify the projects that will deliver the greatest public benefits and give American taxpayers the highest return on their investment," FRA administrator Joseph Szabo said in a release.
Florida is expected to be in a good competitive position because the Tampa-Orlando high-speed route would begin to provide construction and other jobs beginning next year that could stimulate the economy â?? an Obama Administration priority â?? and high-speed trains could begin running at speeds of nearly 170 mph as early as 2015.
The Obama Administration authorized $1.25 billion for the Tampa-Orlando high-speed rail route in January. The $1.1 billion in Florida's current federal request, along with available state funding, would be enough to build the route, which could be followed by an extension from Orlando to Miami.
Consultants and state officials have projected annual ridership would pay for high speed operations.