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Small victories for big rail corridors

Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood announced yesterday that the U.S. Dept. of Transportation will give Michigan a $196 million grant toward the construction of a rail corridor between Detroit and Chicago. The Chicago Tribune’s Jon Hilkevitch points out that the money comes a weeks after DOT gave Illinois $186 million toward a Chicago to St. Louis corridor. Construction of the Chicago to St. Louis high-speed rail corridor — the trains will go up to 110 mph — is already underway.

But hold your applause, mass transit advocates. This money is coming from $2.4 billion that Florida relinquished when new Gov. Rick Scott killed a high-speed rail line between Orlando and Tampa. Much of this money was cut in the last-minute 2011 budget agreement, and will not be fully reallocated to states like Illinois and Michigan that want the mass transit cash.

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