Obama Moves Stimulus Money to High-Speed Rail

Posted April 16, 2009 at 9:28am

President Barack Obama on Thursday said $8 billion in stimulus money will be allocated for high-speed rail projects by the end of the summer. Officials will start with existing projects so that hiring can begin more quickly, he said.

The president indicated he then wants to turn to projects that will build lines from scratch and effectively shorten the distance between major economic hubs.

Obama, who spoke at the White House prior to departing for a trip to Mexico and a summit of Western Hemispheric leaders in Trinidad and Tobago, said the projects would not only provide jobs but help ensure the country’s prosperity into the future.

Ten regions have been identified so far as candidates for new projects, he said. New connections would include lines running from the Gulf Coast to the Southeast and on to Washington, D.C., from parts of Pennsylvania and nearby areas to New England, from cities in the Midwest to each other and Chicago, and between cities in the Pacific Northwest.

The president noted that other countries like France, Spain, China and Japan are already busy at work on high-speed rail lines or already have them.

“It’s been happening,— he said. “The problem is, it’s been happening elsewhere.—