Help is finally on the way for United States rail.
U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said California, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa and Missouri will receive $336.2 million to purchase trains for passenger rail improvements in track shared with freight railroads.
The DOT pledged $2.02 billion earlier this yearto improve the country’s high-speed rail infrastructure, with the $336 million accounting for the first installment of those funds. California and Illinois have already jumped on board with the deal, with both states having finalized agreements with the Federal Railroad Administration to buy train sets of locomotive and rail cars on tracks where trains can run up to 110 mph.
California will use its share of the money to build up its Amtrak service, which is separate from the high-speed rail operations being planned there. Illinois is sharing its funds with Iowa, Michigan and Missouri to enhance its passenger service trains.
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The Obama administration has been trying to push through rail infrastructure improvements since the president was elected in 2008. The money pledged allows for faster speeds for passenger trains, and aids freight trains by adding extra tracks and upgraded signals.
The freight rail improvements are also in line with the administration’s goal to promote job growth within the U.S., where unemployment rates sits above a stubborn 9 percent.
“Today’s announcement is all about jobs,” LaHood said. “These orders will pump more than three-quarters of a billion dollars into the domestic manufacturing industry.”