In total 22 projects in 15 states will benefit from the federal cash that was rejected in February by Florida governor Mr Rick Scott. Amtrak was the big winner securing $US 795m for its Northeast Corridor project, which was previously excluded from the high-speed funding programme.
Improvements include increasing line speeds from 217km/h to 268km/h on a 39km section that will help reduce journey times, while additional investments in new lines will enable Amtrak trains to by-pass trains coming in and out of Manhattan improving on-time performance.
"We are advancing President Obama's historic high-speed rail blueprint through 22 carefully selected projects that will create jobs, boost manufacturing, and spur development while laying the foundations for our future economic competitiveness," LaHood wrote in his online blog.
Other regions set to benefit include the Midwest, specifically through construction of new track at a cost of $US 197m on the Detroit to Chicago line that will increase speeds to 177km/h, reduce journey times by 30 minutes and create 1000 new jobs.
Improvements to the Chicago - St Louis corridor is another project that will receive a significant windfall. $US 186m will be spent on upgrades on the Dwight - Joliet, Illinois, section that will allow trains to operate at 177km/h for more than 354km. Corridors in the Midwest states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri will also benefit from $US 268.2m of investments in 48 new coaches and seven locomotives.
California's Pacific Surfliner, Sun Joaquin and Capitol Corridors will also receive 15 new coaches and four locomotives, while the under-construction dedicated high-speed line in the Central Valley that will ultimately link San Francisco and Los Angeles is another major beneficiary, receiving a $US 300m boost. This will fund a 32km extension from Fresno to the Wye junction that will lead to San Jose in the east and Merced in the north.
Others funds have been allocated to construct new track to improve passenger train performance in Rhode Island, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. Studies on proposed line extensions and new passenger services in North Carolina, Texas and Minnesota are also being supported.
Nearly 100 applications from 24 states, the District of Columbia and Amtrak, totalling more than $US 10bn were received for the rejected Florida cash, which for LaHood reflects the appetite for President Obama's plan.
The proposed 2012 Federal government budget announced by Obama in March includes $US 53bn in funds for high-speed rail over the next six years. However, with the $US 400m allocated for the programme in the 2011 budget removed following a compromise between House Democrats and Republicans, continued funding remains in doubt.