monopoly_money.jpgU.S. Department of Transportation officials announced today that they will redirect $1.2 billion in high-speed rail funds from Wisconsin and Ohio to states more eager to implement the service, including California.

“This is yet another vote of confidence that California’s project is on the right track toward creating tens of thousands of jobs for our state,” Roelof van Ark, CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said in a statement.

California will receive $624 million from the redirection, which means the state will get the biggest chunk of the diverted funds, according to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office. The rail is scheduled to connect Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

“California is leading the nation in bringing true high-speed rail to the U.S.,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

In October, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in a talk in Palo Alto that he supported California’s high-speed rail project because it will create jobs for residents.

“It has the benefit of getting some of the people hardest hit by the recession, people manufacturing autos and construction, back to employment,” he said.

The California High Speed Rail Board voted last week to construct the first section of the system in the Central Valley. Construction is expected to begin in 2012, and passenger service between the Bay Area and Los Angeles is expected to begin by 2020, according to the rail authority.

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News

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