FRIDAY UPDATE: As mentioned in the post from yesterday, just below, the president used a town hall meeting in Tampa, Fla, to announce which states and regions will share in the $8 billion initial funding for development of high-speed rail service. California and Florida received more of the funds than any other states. Pennsylvania is among the recipients, ol $26.4 million to remove grade crossings on Amtrak's Philadelphia-Harrisburg line and to study extension of the line to Pittsburgh. The Inquirer's story focused on the region can be found here. I don't find complete stories on the other projects in the usual places I search, so for the truly interested, here is a link to the Federal Railroad Administration's news release on the grants, with details on each state.
THE ORIGINAL POST: Yes, this blog deals mostly with air travel but your air travel in the future, several years from now, could be affected by how soon the country improves and speeds up its passenger trains. A day after his State of the Union address, President Obama is scheduled to announce which proposed projects to build high-speed rail lines around the country will share the $8 billion in federal funds that have been budgeted so far. Read more on that at this link. Check back tomorrow for more about which states, regions or corridors will receive grants.
Separaely, Amtrak also is receiving more funding under this administration than it has in years, and some of it is to be spent upgrading the Northeast Corridor, the only U.S. line now that can be called high speed. What has already been done over several decades to speed up Northeast Corridor trains demonstrates the potential impact on air travel of faster and more frequent rail service in other parts of the country. For some years now, Amtrak has carried the majority of all travelers who go by plane or train between New York and Washington, and the same could be true some day between other major cities.