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This morning, as expected, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood passed out $2.4 billion in funding to 54 high-speed rail projects in 23 states. Among the recipients: the Texas Department of Transportation, which'll take home $5.6 million intended to allow a further look-see at the Oklahoma City-South Texas Corridor Plan. From the DOT's breakdown, the money will specifically go toward "completion of feasibility studies, a service development plan, and environmental work for the designated high-speed rail corridor of Oklahoma City to Dallas/Ft. Worth, with a potential extension to Austin and San Antonio."
Which is nice and all, but as the Austin American Statesman noted late last night, that's a little drop in a big bucket and only a fraction of what TxDOT asked for when it looked for more than $8 mil to study high-speed rail from Austin to Houston and from Houston to Dallas. And, notes the Statesman's Ben Wear:
Even that money could take awhile to secure, TxDOT spokeswoman Karen Amacker said, because the agency, along with its counterpart in Oklahoma, has to negotiate a grant agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Similar agreements regarding $11 million promised to Texas as part of an initial round of $8 billion high-speed rail grants awarded nationwide in January are still not finalized, she said. (That $11 million will go toward track and signal improvements on existing Amtrak lines.)
Passenger rail supporter Peter LeCody , president of Texas Rail Advocates, called the $5.6 million "a good way to start."
Wonder where the Japanese fit into all of this.