I'm here in Washington, DC for the week for other business, and unfortunately I wasn't invited to the big HSR confab that Joe Biden and Ray LaHood held today with state leaders. But the outcome was further evidence that California's HSR project is in line for a big windfall this year from the HSR stimulus:
Though California is in the throes of a budget crisis, Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the state's high-speed rail project is well-positioned to compete for a significant share of the $8 billion that the Obama administration set aside in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for rail lines.
..."The reason why California is looked at so closely -- it's been a priority of your governor, it's been a priority of your Legislature, they've talked about it, a lot of planning has been done," Biden said in a conference call with reporters.
The vice president said the administration wants "to get shovel-ready projects out the door as quickly as we can. . . . So California is in the game," he said.
This reinforces Ray LaHood's previous comments that CA is going to get a ton of HSR money from the federal government. Again, we don't quite know how much, but the amount is likely to be significant.
There was some debate back in 2008 and early 2009 about whether the promised federal commitment to HSR would actually materialize. Clearly, it has. Obviously that needs to be an ongoing commitment, and that is where the battle over the 2009 Transportation Bill will become so important. But with Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Ray LaHood, we seem to have the right team in place to ensure that the feds will follow through on HSR.