Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released $336.2 million to five U.S. states to invest in American-made trains for their existing rail networks. All told, including previously awarded funds, California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington will receive a combined $782 million to buy 33 quick-acceleration locomotives and 120 bi-level passenger cars, according to a DOT statement.
“Today’s announcement is all about jobs. Thanks to the leadership of the Obama Administration, these orders will pump more than three quarters of a billion dollars into the domestic manufacturing industry,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “And, our Buy America standard will put people to work all over the county.”
In releasing these funds, the U.S. government hopes to generate more manufacturing jobs while simultaneously improving the country’s passenger rail network.
“Building a nationwide rail network is critical to America’s long-term economic success. More people are choosing to take the train and this year Amtrak is projected to set an all-time record by topping 30 million annual riders,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo.
The move comes amid several rail initiatives by the Obama administration, including a $562.9 million loan to Amtrak for the purchase of 70 electric trains. Overall, the government has made a $10.1 billion investment for the development of a high speed and intercity passenger rail network throughout the United States. So far, $6 billion of this amount has been deployed, and railway projects are underway in New England, Illinois, Washington, North Carolina, and California.
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