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Obama budget: $8 billion is just a down payment on a speedy train network

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President Obama's budget calls for $1 billion a year in new federal spending for high-speed rail, on top of the $8 billion set aside in the recent economic stimulus package.

That will get our attention. North Carolina and Virginia are partners in one contender for federal fast-train funds, the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor.

Obama proposes a "new federal commitment" to link U.S. cities with trains that can go at least 110 mph:

To provide Americans a 21st Century transportation system, the Administration proposes a five-year $5 billion high-speed rail State grant program. Building on the $8 billion down payment in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the President’s proposal marks a new Federal commitment to give the traveling public a practical and environmentally sustainable alternative to flying or driving. Directed by the States, this investment will lead to the creation of several high-speed rail corridors across the country linking regional population centers.

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About the blogger

Bruce Siceloff reports on traffic and transportation. A News & Observer reporter, editor and blogger since 1976, he took over the Road Worrier column in 2003. Lately he drives I-40 with the cruise control set at 68 mph. You can e-mail Bruce, call him at 919-829-4527, check out his Crosstown Traffic blog or follow him (@Road_Worrier) on Twitter.