The Obama Administration made an exciting announcement today regarding Obama's vision for a new era of high-speed rail for U.S. travelers. Obama's Strategic Plan will rebuild existing rail infrastructure and develop a comprehensive high-speed intercity passenger rail network through a long-term commitment at both the federal and state levels. This plan draws from successful highway and aviation development models with a 21st century solution that focuses on clean, energy-efficient rail transportation.

The plan will use $8 billion provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (PDF) and $1 billion a year for five years requested in the federal budget as a down payment to jump-start the passenger rail system and set the direction of transportation policy for the future. The strategic plan will be followed by detailed guidance for state and local applicants. By late summer, the Federal Railroad Administration will begin awarding the first round of grants.

The California Corridor will connect the following cities: San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland), Sacramento, Merced, Bakersfield, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Diego.