Reconnecting America applauds President Obama’s award of $8 billion for 13 high-speed rail corridors from California to Florida with the goal of creating a nationwide program of high-speed intercity passenger rail service. Reconnecting America has long advocated investments in intercity and high-speed rail lines to reduce dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to link people in urban and rural communities to economic opportunity.
WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced a change in the criteria on which federal transportation funding decisions are based that moves away from “very narrow cost and performance criteria” to a consideration of “all the factors that help communities reduce their carbon footprint, spur economic activity, and relieve congestion.” These considerations would include economic development, mobility improvements, environmental benefits, operating efficiencies and land use – in addition to cost effectiveness. LaHood promised that the Federal Transit Administration would initiate a rulemaking process to accomplish this change shortly. The new rules will be used to award some $2 billion a year in funding through the New Starts and Small Starts transit funding programs.