Meeting will discuss funding and implementation of high-speed rail corridors.
Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will meet with a variety of state governors and officials later today to discuss the $8 billion high-speed rail element of the recovery bill. States have yet to formally submit their applications for the funds, and the administration will put more information on the table before they do. Mr. LaHood has a blog post up about the event. Here’s the White House’s list of attendees:
- California: Chair, High-Speed Rail Commission
- Georgia: Governor Sonny Perdue
- Illinois: Governor Pat Quinn
- Iowa: General Counsel and Deputy Chief of Staff
- Maryland: Acting Secretary of Transportation
- Massachusetts: Governor Deval Patrick
- Michigan: Governor Jennifer Granholm; Director of Transportation
- Missouri: Governor Jay Nixon
- New Hampshire: Deputy Commissioner of Transportation
- New Jersey: Commissioner of Transportation
- North Carolina: Secretary of Transportation
- Ohio: Director of Transportation
- Oklahoma: Assistant Director of Administration, DOT
- Pennsylvania: Governor Ed Rendell
- Rhode Island: Director of Transportation
- Tennessee: Commissioner of Transportation
- West Virginia: Secretary of Transportation
- Wisconsin: Governor Jim Doyle
- Virginia: Governor Tim Kaine
It’s not made known whether these individuals were selected specifically for attendance, or whether all states received invitations; I would assume the latter. Nonetheless, the list makes it clear which states are serious about attempting to move federal funds, and which ones aren’t as enthusiastic. The most significant states not represented are Texas, Florida, Washington, Oregon, New York, and Minnesota, each of which has a high-speed rail program and which was theoretically intending to apply for federal funds. On the other hand, there is no requirement that a state has to have a representative at this meeting to receive funds, so perhaps the governments of those states are confident in their approaches without having to attend a meeting in Washington. Secretary LaHood previously stated that California and Florida were “way ahead” of the others and most likely to receive funds. We’ll see.
More on this after the meeting.