24 states seek rail funds Fla. refused

April 6, 2011 at 5:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 6 (UPI) -- Twenty-four states applied for some or all of the $2.4 billion in high-speed rail money turned down by Florida, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

Ninety applications were submitted, including proposals from the two dozen states, Amtrak and Washington, D.C., the Transportation Department said in a release.

"Since the Department of Transportation announced the availability of an additional $2.4 billion for high-speed rail projects last month, governors and members of Congress from both major parties have been clamoring for the opportunity to participate," LaHood said on the department's Web site.

LaHood said the department's Federal Railroad Administration will begin determining which of the 90 projects can quickly deliver benefits such sustained economic development, reduced energy consumption, and improved regional transportation efficiency.

Florida lawmakers sued to force Republican Gov. Rick Scott to take the money, but the state Supreme Court ruled Scott could reject the funds. Had it been accepted, the money would have paid for 90 percent of the construction cost of a railway between Tampa and Orlando.

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