Posted by: loomisisc | January 27, 2010

Trains in the Tropics, Competitive Bids for Federal Rail Funds

Interactive Map from the Wall Street Journal. Click image for story link.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Josh Mitchell reported,

The Obama administration is set to award $8 billion in stimulus funds for high-speed rail, and Florida is seen as a front-runner to get some of the money first. The program, funded by the economic-recovery package enacted last year, will be part of the administration’s focus on jobs creation in coming weeks, and could be a boon for states and construction companies tied to high-speed rail.”

These stimulus funds are part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. Hawaii is currently slated for over $40 million to renovate island busing systems. The Honolulu High Capacity Rail Transit Project is also pending approval for rail funding when the FEIS is approved by Gov. Lingle. Her approval is critical to Honolulu’s competitiveness for the FTA funds.

The Congress is unable to fund all those projects, so there’s great competition for that, and in fact, here in Honolulu you have some experience with that,” said American Public Transit Association President William Millar at a recent city press conference.   “The last time you moved forward with as rail project that fell apart at the end, you had hundreds of millions of dollars that did not come to Honolulu that when someplace else…. The people of Salt Lake City are very grateful to you all, because when your project failed, the money that was to come here to Honolulu in part when to Salt Lake. It went to several other cities as well…. I guess the question I’d really ask you is, do you really want your federal tax dollars that are scheduled to come to Honolulu to go to somewhere else? Because there are plenty of somewhere-else’s that would be happy to take that money off your hands.”

Also today, Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $171 Million for Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco according to an FTA press release. “This significant federal investment in the Transbay Transit Center is a huge step forward in completing this innovative project,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “The Transbay Transit Center will increase public transport options, reduce congestion, lower carbon emissions, and create jobs.”

“The loan is a great example of how critical federal funding can advance transportation projects and bring them closer to reality,” Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez added.

Click image to view Hawaii’s approved FTA stimulus funds.

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