US transport secretary confirms $336m in rail spending

United States transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, has announced California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri will receive $336.2 million to purchase next-generation, American-made trains.

Previously awarded rail dollars bring the amount received by these five states and Washington State to $782 million for the purchase of 33 quick-acceleration locomotives and 120 bi-level passenger cars.

“This announcement is all about jobs,” explained LaHood.

“Thanks to the leadership of the Obama Administration, these orders will pump more than three quarters of a billion dollars into the domestic manufacturing industry.”

California and Illinois reached cooperative agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration to begin a multi-state procurement of equipment for passenger rail corridors in California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Oregon and Washington State. 

Through a joint procurement process states will leverage these federal investments, along with state matching dollars, ensuring taxpayers receive the best possible deal while creating the necessary momentum to encourage manufacturers to build equipment in US plants with American workers and suppliers.

“Building a nationwide rail network is critical to America’s long-term economic success. 

“More people are choosing to take the train and this year Amtrak is projected to set an all-time record by topping 30 million annual riders,” said federal railroad administrator Joseph Szabo.

Trains will be designed to travel more than 110 mph along intercity passenger corridors, and meet standards developed by the state-led, Next Generation Equipment Committee. 

This will provide manufacturers with consistent specifications for all passenger trains in the United States, reducing costs for manufacturers and customers, while providing a boost to the railcar manufacturing industry

The Obama administration has invested $10.1 billion to lay the groundwork for a high-speed and intercity passenger rail network in the United States, providing rail access to new communities and improving the reliability, speed and frequency of existing lines.

Of that, more than $6 billion has been obligated, with corridor projects under way in New England, Illinois, Washington State and North Carolina and stations under construction in California and North Carolina.