NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Department of Transportation awarded $2.4 billion Thursday for high-speed rail projects, though a lot more money is needed to make the project a reality.
The lion's share of the grants went to California and Florida, according to the department. California is receiving more than $900 million, including $715 million to build a rail through the Central Valley, the nation's agricultural powerhouse. Florida will receive $800 million to build a high-speed rail from Tampa to Orlando.
Chicago is also being established as a major connector for the high-speed rail project. Iowa received $230 million to build a rail connecting Chicago to Iowa City and the Quad Cities along the Illinois-Iowa border. Michigan received $161 million to connect Chicago with Detroit.
In all, 23 states will receive part of the $2.4 billion .The money will go toward constructing the track and the stations, as well as new passenger equipment and the studies for developing high-speed service.
Demand for the federal funding is high. The Federal Railroad Administration, a division of the department, said it received 132 applications from 32 states totaling $8.8 billion.
However, the grants are a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated total cost. For example, Amtrak has estimated that a high-speed revamp of the Northeast Corridor, the most highly developed rail stretch, would cost $117 billion.
The Obama administration considers high-speed rail to be a necessary component in improving the nation's infrastructure to stimulate economic growth.
The Recovery Act passed last year has provided a down payment of $8 billion for high-speed rail funding, and the Department of Transportation provided more than $2.1 billion as part of its fiscal year 2009 budget.
That number will likely grow as the Obama Administration eases restrictions with the Communist country. More
Congress waited until the last minute to decide what to do with a slew of expired tax breaks. They extended most of them, and a handful will affect individuals directly. More