Georgia has won just $750,000 from the $8 billion pool of high-speed rail grants that President Obama was scheduled to announce this week.
The White House sent an announcement of the grants to capitol offices Wednesday evening. Thursday morning state officials confirmed the dollar amount.
Georgia high-speed rail advocates were despondent throughout the day Wednesday, fearing Georgia would get little or none of the money, because it has lagged on rail development while other states have invested. More than $80 million in federal earmarks for a commuter rail line south of Atlanta have sat idle for years.
The money to be announced Thursday would pay for three feasibility studies, at $250,000 each.
“This is pitiful,” said U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), when asked for comment.
Other states are expected to get grants to actually build physical rail lines.
The studies would see if it is feasible to build lines from Atlanta to Birmingham and from Macon to Jacksonville, and study a compact for a rail line between Chicago, Louisville, Nashville and Atlanta.
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were scheduled to detail the grants in an event in Florida Thursday, virtually confirming that Florida was a significant winner.
Last fall, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told a number of states, including Georgia and Florida, that they had better get their act together on rail transit or risk losing out on the high-speed rail grants. In a special session weeks later, Florida voted additional annual funding for one rail transit line and expedited buying track for another.