Sunday, March 6, 2011
Florida’s governor has made a final decision to turn down the $2.4 billion in funding that his state had been awarded through the two rounds of federal High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) program funding.
MIPRC hopes that Midwestern states will be given first dibs on that funding, and believes the region has a strong rationale for its request.
According to the Associated Press, US DOT Secretary LaHood has said that the funds will be distributed to other states.
"I know that states across America are enthusiastic about receiving additional support to help bring America's high-speed rail network to life and deliver all its economic benefits to their citizens," the AP quoted LaHood saying in a statement issued Friday.
Anticipating that this might be Florida’s decision, on February 25, MIPRC Chair Rep. Elaine Nekritz sent a letter to Secretary LaHood, asking that if Florida does return any of the funding it was awarded, that priority be given to Midwestern states when redirecting the funding.
“In support of our plan for a regional system of fast, frequent passenger trains, Midwestern states submitted applications totaling almost $12.5 billion through those first two rounds of HSIPR applications,” stated Rep. Nekritz in the letter, “Given that our applications were supported by all of our states, and most of the funding that was turned back by Ohio and Wisconsin went to states outside of our region, we now request that priority be given to Midwestern states’ requests for funding if Florida ends up refusing any of its HSIPR award.”