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Stimulus funding for high-speed rails could be coming to N.C.

Posted January 27, 2010

— North Carolina will learn Thursday how much stimulus money, if any, it will get to develop high-speed rail corridors in the state.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden plan to announce $8 billion in grants for 13 major corridors during a town hall meeting in Tampa, Fla.

N.C. could get funding for high-speed rails N.C. could get funding for high-speed rails

The funding is part of the $787 billion recovery act. Besides the 13 corridors receiving grants, several smaller awards will be made for improvements to existing rail lines. Overall, 31 states will receive funds.

North Carolina has applied for more than $5 billion to improve rail service from Charlotte to Washington, D.C.

State Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti said Wednesday he expects at least $100 million to cover a rail from Charlotte to Raleigh.

"We're very confident we'll get at least that much," he said.

Government sources say North Carolina could receive at least $500 million.

"We anticipate over seven years that approximately 60,000 jobs could be created in this effort," Conti said. "These dollars will be putting people in North Carolina to work."

The route is part of a larger one that already connects Boston to Washington. It would eventually run through Richmond, Va., Raleigh and Charlotte and continue through Georgia, with stops in Atlanta, Macon, Columbia and Savannah, before ending in Jacksonville, Fla.

"Building the corridor from Raleigh to Richmond is more is the more significant investment, so depending on what we get, we'd start that work," Conti said.

A representative from Obama's administration is expected to be in Durham Thursday to discuss the economic impact on the state, the White House said.

"We think that represents a strong commitment from this administration to work on this corridor in North Carolina," Conti said.

Announcing the funding last year, Obama said the United States cannot afford not to invest in high-speed rail travel, saying it will relieve congestion, help clean the air and save on energy.

"This is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future. It's happening now. The problem is, it's happening elsewhere," Obama said, referring to high-speed travel in countries like China, Japan, France and Spain.

The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration says the term "high-speed rail" applies to trains traveling more than 90 mph.

Top speeds from Charlotte to Raleigh could reach 110 mph, averaging 85 mph to 87 mph, with an estimated travel time of two to three hours.

Current passenger trains average between 46 mph to 48 mph.

19 Comments

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  • ginaosbo Jan 28, 2010

    WOW! Just what is not needed, at the very time when it is not needed in the worst way! And the "Hits just keep on comin'"!

  • JustAName Jan 28, 2010

    mep, they have been trying to push through a commuter rail system for years here. The problem is, they want to do it without putting it to the airport first. On top of that, there isn't a good enough bus system for the RTP.

    If anything, the businesses in the RTP should pull together and build some sort of commuter rail from the offices to the food areas. I'm sure that would be used.

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Jan 27, 2010

    Is anybody REALLY in a hurry to get to Charlotte?

    Leave Charlotte, sure..........that I understand.

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Jan 27, 2010

    100 million divided 60,000 ways is 1700 bucks. What are they gonna buy materials with?

  • SMR Jan 27, 2010

    and it will still take longer and be more expensive than driving.

  • Sulfurdust Jan 27, 2010

    Hey, how about Wilmington to Raleigh?

  • mep Jan 27, 2010

    Does NC really "need" a high speed rail between Raleigh and Charlotte? Wouldn't the money be better spent paying off our HUGE national debt? And I seriously doubt the 60,000 jobs figure. Heck, I would rather see the money spent on a local rail system. Imagine a rail system capable of serving the entire Raleigh, Cary, RTP and Durham metros with convienient pick-up and drop off locations. You know... something folks would actually use. I can dream.....

  • fatchanceimwrong Jan 27, 2010

    For the next year, or most of it, democrats are going to be focused on covering thier rears and trying not to lose too much control instead of helping the people. The individual states need to step up and make the decisions for thier people. The federal gov't has more control than they were set up for, by the states. The public's best interest has been entrusted to corrupt politicians. It looks like the public is taking control at the ballot box and I hope it continues. Heck, replace 'em all...a new bunch can't do a lot worse.

  • NCPictures Jan 27, 2010

    WOW.. great idea More waste of money... more debt...

  • fatchanceimwrong Jan 27, 2010

    Am I alone in thinking that this mode of transportation is easy target for terrorists? An explosive set anywhere along the rails is an easy task and there is no security. If the gov't expects this to move large quantities of people, as planes do, then it's easy target for terrorists. At least the airports and airspace are monitored & security is in place. Then again, to not do it due to fear of terrorists means they win, right?

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