Topeka — Florida’s loss may be Lawrence’s gain.
When Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal funds to build a high-speed rail project in his state, federal officials put the money up for grabs for other states.
Kansas was one of 24 states, along with Amtrak, to submit an application for a portion of the funding.
The Kansas application would be for $1.1 million and would go toward renovation and restoration of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe depot.
The application was made by the Kansas Department of Transportation and would include a match of $283,786 from the city of Lawrence.
“KDOT was very excited and supportive of submitting an application for our project,” said Carey Maynard-Moody, president of Depot Redux, which is wanting to restore the depot at Seventh and New Jersey streets.
“If this money is available, it would just be a dream come true,” she said.
After Florida’s governor canceled a project that would have connected Tampa and Orlando with high-speed trains, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood opened the funding up to other projects that could deliver public and economic benefits. The department received 90 applications totaling more than $10 billion.
Among those was a proposal from Amtrak for $1.3 billion to improve service between Boston and Washington, D.C. The state of Missouri applied for nearly $1 billion in funding for high-speed rail service between St. Louis and Kansas City.
“What we heard from the feds is that they got tons more applications than they had money,” said Steve Swartz, spokesman for KDOT.
No date has been determined on when the projects will be selected but Maynard-Moody was hopeful.
“It would be wonderful if all our ships came in,” she said.