WASHINGTON — US officials said Thursday they had received applications for 278 high-speed rail projects that could be selected for funding under the economic stimulus package.
"The response has been tremendous and shows that the country is ready for high-speed rail," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
He said his agency received 278 pre-applications for grant funding under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for high-speed rail project, which aims to rival the express trains of France, Japan and other nations.
"It's time to look beyond our highways and invest in public transportation services like rail, which will enhance regional mobility and reduce our carbon footprint," LaHood said.
The stimulus, or recovery act, included an eight billion dollar competitive grant program as a down payment to develop high-speed and intercity passenger rail networks.
President Barack Obama has proposed a continuing one billion dollar annual investment to further this effort, LaHood added.
Officials plan to award the first round of grants by mid-September under the new rail plan first revealed by Obama in April.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »