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Washington State OKs Federal High-Speed-Rail Funds

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Not all states are turning down federal funding for high-speed passenger rail. The U.S. Dept. of Transportation has formally obligated $590 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to the Washington DOT, clearing the way for passenger rail infrastructure projects in that state. The state DOT announced on Feb. 26 that it had reached agreements with federal and railroad officials on releasing the funds as well as a spending plan and rail-service benchmarks. U.S. DOT awarded Washington $590 million in January 2010, when it announced the winners of ARRA’s $8 billion for high-speed passenger rail. But agreements with state and railroad officials were necessary before the funds could be committed. “Signing this agreement now means work can begin during this year’s construction season,” says Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond. As of Feb. 28, DOT had obligated about $4.9 billion of ARRA’s $8 billion for high-speed rail.

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