The Obama administration can play tough when it's got the right cards. David Weigel reports that Republican governors who had hoped to divert high-speed rail money to less sissified uses (i.e., highways) can kiss the money goodbye:
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that $1.195 billion in high-speed rail funds originally designated for Wisconsin and Ohio will be redirected to other states eager to develop high-speed rail corridors across the United States. Wisconsin has suspended work under its existing high-speed rail agreement and the incoming Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio have both indicated that they will not move forward to use high-speed rail money received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As a result, $1.195 billion will be redirected to high-speed rail projects already underway in other states.
The DOT press release indicates that Massachusetts will get "up to $2.8 million" that would have gone to Ohio and Wisconsin. California will get a rail windfall of "up to $624 million."
Thanks, elderly white voters in the Midwest!
UPDATE: I assume that Congress, if it so desires, can find a way to funnel federal money back to Wisconsin, but it would be a lot harder to reverse this. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Talgo Inc. will shut down its Milwaukee train manufacturing operations in 2012, leaving only a maintenance base, because plans for a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison have been abandoned, the company announced Friday.
The Spanish-owned company acted after the federal government withdrew nearly all of the $810 million in stimulus funding for the rail project, which Governor-elect Scott Walker had vowed to kill. Talgo had hoped to land contracts to build two trains for that line.