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Connecticut Bypassed For Latest High-Speed Rail Grants

$1.2 Billion That Became Available After November Elections Goes To Other States

Don Stacom

December 10, 2010

Connecticut lost out on its bid to get a share of $1.2 billion in federal high-speed rail funds Thursday.

With newly elected conservative governors in Ohio and Wisconsin rejecting the Obama administration grants, Connecticut and more than a dozen other states lined up to get part of that money.

But on Thursday afternoon, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that the bulk of the funding will go to two states that are relatively far along in designing fast trains: California and Florida.

"While disappointed, we are confident this does not reflect the federal government's support of the project. Rather, it reflects the fact that Connecticut did very well in the last high-speed rail stimulus round when we received $121 million," Gov. M. Jodi Rell said in a statement Thursday.

"At that time, many other states were shut out, and they might be making up for that with today's announcement," Rell said. "We will continue to aggressively pursue any federal dollars possible in the future."

Connecticut wants to build an electrified, two-track system for 110 mph trains on the 62-mile corridor from Springfield through Hartford and south to New Haven. The cost is estimated at $1 billion. So far, the state has invested more than $400 million in its own money and federal grants.

When incoming Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin announced they'd cancel their state's high-speed train projects, the Obama administration withdrew $1.2 billion in federal aid that was pledged to them. Other states including many governed by Republicans began lobbying the federal Transportation Department to get the money.

LaHood awarded $624 million to California and $342 million to Florida; both states that are relatively far along in high-speed rail projects. Massachusetts and Vermont got about $2.7 million each, and the remaining money was went to Washington state, Illinois, New York, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oregon, Iowa, North Carolina and Indiana.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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