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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

LaHood to Walker, Kasich: HSR stimulus funds can't be used for other purposes


Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood sent a letter to Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker that reiterates how high-speed rail stimulus dollars can be used. The department will shut down the Milwaukee-to-Madison project if Walker continues to oppose the program, LaHood wrote.

After acknowledging that he and Walker have different opinions on the value of high-speed rail in the Midwest, LaHood said he respects governors’ power to make decisions for their respective states.

“There seems to be some confusion, however, about how these high-speed rail dollars can be spent,” LaHood wrote. “For this reason, I would like to set the record straight: None of the money provided to Wisconsin may be used for road and highway projects, or anything other than high-speed rail. Consequently, unless you change your position, we plan to engage in an orderly transition to wind down Wisconsin’s project so that we do not waste taxpayers’ money.”

In a similar letter issued today to Ohio Governor-elect John Kasich, LaHood restated that the $400 million in recovery act funds that have been earmarked for Ohio’s 3C Corridor may not be used for road construction and freight-rail lines, as Kasich has requested. The high-speed funds would provide the state with “a shot in the arm that Ohio could well use,” LaHood wrote in the letter.

“I believe that Ohio manufacturers could benefit greatly as we build train sets and tracks, which will require wheel bearings, glass, steel and other key components, as well as final assembly,” he wrote.

However, as he said in the letter to Walker, LaHood told Kasich that if Kasich chooses not to participate in the program, the U.S. Department of Transportation would work to “wind down” the 3C project, LaHood wrote.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/9/2010