(New York, NY) - Today U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood announced grant awards for fifteen states and Amtrak for high-speed and passenger rail. The money awarded, $2 billion in total, is funding that was reallocated after Florida Governor Rick Scott cancelled the state's high-speed rail project. America 2050 today released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Transportation's high-speed and intercity passenger rail grants:
"With gas prices on the rise, Americans are looking for alternatives to driving and flying. Today, fifteen states and Amtrak received grant awards that will enable them to expand and improve passenger rail service, providing a safe and convenient travel option that does not rely on imported oil," said Petra Todorovich, director, America 2050. "It's mystifying that Congress moved recently to cut new funding for high-speed rail for the remainder of 2011, given the strong interest by 24 states in expanding their rail service, as demonstrated in this round of grant making. The fact that the U.S. DOT was only able to fund one-fifth of the $10 billion worth of projects applied for in this round shows that there is pent up demand for improved rail service around the country."