Feds Pressure States to Spend Rail Funds
In separate letters, LaHood appealed to Wisconsin governor-elect Scott Walker and Ohio's John Kasich to keep alive active high-speed rail construction in their states, citing potential economic growth and job creation. The Transportation Department has committed $823 million to a Chicago-Minneapolis route, which includes a Milwaukee-Madison segment, and $400 million to an intercity Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati line. Both governors-elect publicly oppose the rail projects.
LaHood also cautioned that the funds cannot be diverted to other projects, such as road construction or freight line improvements, Steve Kastenbaum says:
"Lahood wrote that he respects the power of governors to make decisions for their states, but, 'There seems to be some confusion about how these high-speed rail dollars can be spent.'"