Impression of high speed train for California.

USA: President Obama announced the high speed and inter-city rail projects which will share $8bn of federal funding during a visit to Tampa, Florida, on January 28.

States and local communities were able to compete for the money which was announced in April 2009 as part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act $787bn economic stimulus package. It has now been allocated to 13 'corridor' investments for the development of 'high speed' rail infrastructure or start of upgrading with a view to future faster running, plus a series of smaller grants for localised improvements and project planning. Money will go to 31 states plus Washington DC.

The bulk of the money has been allocated to large-scale projects, including high speed lines in California and Florida; there is $1·25bn towards the proposed 270 km/h Tampa - Orlando line, and $2·25bn for California's project to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco at up to 350 km/h

'We're connecting cities that are too close for efficient air travel but - with the highways connecting these cities nearly choked beyond capacity - too far for productive road travel', US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood explained on his blog. 'Cities like St Louis and Chicago. We know that people already want to travel between these cities; we're here to begin making that downtown-to-downtown travel significantly easier, faster, and more productive.'