The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the latest version of the stimulus bill contains $8 billion for “high speed” passenger-rail service. That’s twice what was in original iteration of the bill. A nice win for the fans of trains. But don’t get too excited.
WSJ: The proposed investment in “high-speed” service doesn’t mean Americans will soon be zipping between cities on bullet trains that travel at over 200 miles per hour. Rather, the focus will be on improving popular routes, such as the one between Chicago and St. Louis, where passenger trains often encounter delays because they share tracks with freight trains. Money will go into new tracks, signals and stations in these intercity corridors, with the aim of ensuring reliable service via trains travelling up to 110 miles an hour.
Overall under the stimulus bill, the Department of Transportation would channel more than $45 billion to state and local governments for highways and other transportation projects. Many state transportation leaders have said they will make ready-to-go projects, such as repair of existing roads, a top priority. But there are also likely to be fights among local politicians over what new roads and other projects to fund.