Railroads to Receive $8 Billion in Federal Grants

The Obama Administration recently announced its plan to award $8 billion in federal grants to 31 states around the U.S. for high-speed and intercity passenger rail projects. According to Edward Hamberger, president and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, “The Obama Administration’s announcement recognizes the vital importance of rail to our nation’s economic recovery.”

Each $1 billion invested in growing the nation’s rail system creates 20,000 jobs, Hamberger states. “Today, freight railroads support 1.2 million jobs and generate nearly $265 billion in total U .S. annual economic activity.”

The federal grants, he explains, will offer an opportunity to expand intercity passenger rail service “in a manner that better meets the needs of both the general public and users of rail services. The Federal Railroad Administration’s guidelines for high-speed rail make clear that states applying for grants for intercity and high-speed rail projects are required to have written agreements with the host freight railroads on issues such as safety, infrastructure capacity, compensation and liability. This ultimately will help ensure that higher speed rail does not compromise the vital present and future role of freight rail in America's economic recovery.”

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