Today President Barack Obama revealed a strategic plan to accelerate the development of high-speed rail across the country. He said high-speed rail is necessary to improve the environment and reduce traffic congestion and dependence on foreign oil.

In February, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated $13 billion for the development of high-speed rail. The Obama administration designated an additional $5 billion for it in the White House's proposed budget that will be disbursed in $1 billion increments over five years beginning with fiscal 2010.

The federal government classifies high-speed rail as trains between cities that travel at least 110 mph.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration press release, likely recipients of the funding are: California, the Pacific Northwest, south central, the Gulf Coast, the Chicago hub network, Florida, the southeast, Keystone, Empire and northern New England.

Obama wants state and local communities to create plans of 100- to 600-mile corridors, and the grants may be disbursed as early as late summer 2009.

Strategic Plan Outlines Three Funding Tracks

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Elaine Rundle  |  Staff Writer