Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Money Train

When Florida Gov. Rick Scott turned down the $2 billion to build the high-speed rail between Orlando and Tampa, a lot of other states lined up for it.

The Obama administration on Monday announced the reallocation of $2 billion in its signature transportation program to create a national high-speed rail network, including $795 million for upgrades that would permit speeds of 160 mph in parts of the Northeast Corridor.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the money available to other states this year when Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) opted not to accept funds that had been allocated to build high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando.

LaHood said almost 100 applications came in from 24 states, the District and Amtrak.

Maryland received $22 million to help replace a 100-year-old bridge over the Susquehanna River on the Northeast Corridor line. The District did not receive any funds in this round, and Virginia did not apply.

“If you’re ready to get into the high-speed rail business, we’re ready to help you,” said LaHood, who shuttled Monday between New York and Detroit to announce the funding. He said the awards went to “reliable partners” in the high-speed rail effort.

In case you haven’t noticed, the states that are getting the money are the ones that will figure prominently in the president’s re-election campaign. And there’s no doubt that they planned it that way.