Florida to get slice of $8bn in high-speed rail funds

President Barack Obama will travel to the southern US state on Thursday to announce the winners of the competition for the stimulus funding, which is aimed at jump-starting high-speed rail projects across the US.

Florida is to receive a chunk of the Federal government’s $8 billion in stimulus money for high-speed rail, according to the state's senior senator, Democrat Bill Nelson.

“Obama in Tampa tomorrow where he’s announcing $8bn in stimulus money for high-speed rail, including some for a bullet train in Florida,” Nelson said in a message on the social networking website Twitter. Nelson later added an official announcement on his web site.

It is unclear how much of the money Florida will receive. However, the statement posted on the Senator’s website late Wednesday confirmed President Barack Obama will be travelling to the state tomorrow to announce the high-speed rail funding, which was made available through the $787 billion American Reinvestment and Recovery Act passed a year ago.

Florida was among the 24 states that applied for the stimulus funds, which Transportation Department officials hope will complement private investment in the high-speed rail.

The state requested $2.6 billion to design, build, maintain and operate a high-speed rail system between the cities of Tampa and Orlando. Eventually, Florida hopes to have a high-speed rail corridor between Orlando, located in central Florida, Tampa on the west coast and Miami in the state's southeast.