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US government kick-starts $8 billion in high-speed rail projects

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Funding fuels projects to whisk passengers from San Francisco to Anahiem, Orlando to Tampa, Chicago to St. Louis, and Minneapolis to Chicago.

The US federal government is providing $8 billion in grants -- coming from economic stimulus money -- to get things moving on the nation's first high-speed, intercity rail service between a number of major cities.

US Department of Transportation Proposed High-Speed Rail Network

California will receive $2.25 billion, the largest amount for any state, in federal economic stimulus funds to develop a high-speed rail line running from Anaheim to San Francisco. Additional lines will also include a Midwest line from Chicago to St. Louis and one in Florida running from Tampa to Orlando. Trains will run up to 220 miles an hour.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, trains on the proposed Anaheim-to-San Francisco line, which is projected to ultimately cost about $42 billion, "would whisk passengers the 400 or so miles in no more than 2 hours, 40 minutes. The project would take a decade to complete, with extensions to San Diego and Sacramento planned."

Florida will receive $1.25 billion to help build a high-speed rail system from Orlando to Tampa and, eventually, to Miami.

A $1.1 billion grant will fund a high-speed corridor between Chicago and St. Louis, and eventually to Kansas City.

An $823 million award to link Minneapolis to Milwaukee and Chicago.

New York state will receive $151 million for a high-speed rail line from Niagara Falls to New York City.

The California High-Speed Rail Blog has provided links to White House has info sheets on what each state received. Some highlights:

UPDATE:  For further reference, Wired magazine has just published a nice summary of who, what, when, where and why as it regards high-speed rail in the United States.

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Joe McKendrick

Contributing Editor

Joe McKendrick is an independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. He is a co-author of the SOA Manifesto and has written for Forbes, ZDNet and Database Trends & Applications. He holds a degree from Temple University. He is based in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure