Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently turned down $2 billion in federal funds for high-speed rail, mostly as a means of sticking it to the liberals in Washington. But If you live in one of more than a dozen other states, you should thank Governor Scott for his sacrifice! Because the Department of Transportation announced how it would divvy up Florida's rejected money today.
- $795 million to upgrade the heavily-trafficked Northeast Corridor, running between D.C. and Boston. This is Amtrak's only moneymaker, but even here, trains aren't always on time — these upgrades will help improve performance, plus make trains run faster overall. And they'll also add more seats, so the trains can serve more people, and maybe that miserable and needless cattle-call at Penn Station will become slightly less of a free-for-all (probably not).
- $404.1 million to extend high-speed rail in the Midwest, including a 110-MPH line connecting Detroit to Chicago, which might assist the Motor City's renaissance. It'll be faster and safer to travel from Chicago to Detroit and to St. Louis as well. Bonus: The construction will create 1,000 jobs, according to the DOT.
- $336.2 million to manufacture better locomotives and train cars — American-made, natch.
- $300 million to advance construction of the planned 220-MPH line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. This would be the country's fastest rail line, and one of its most important, given the population density in L.A. and S.F. (and how desperately L.A. needs to be weaned off of cars).
- Plus sundry less-expensive projects all over the country: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, and Washington all get a slice.
Thanks, Florida's governor!
[Image of Florida Gov. Rick Scott via AP]