From Sunlen Miller:
Following last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama will travel to Tampa, Florida today.
The President and the Vice President will first tour a maintenance hangar and greet crewmembers working on a KC-135 Stratotanker. The aircraft refuels planes in-air and has recently been involved in refueling planes participating in flying aid missions to and from Haiti, the White House says.
Obama will then hold a town hall meeting at the University of Tampa to make an announcement, referred to in his speech last night, awarding $8 billion in Recovery Act grants to begin to build a high speed rail infrastructure across the country.
“We can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow,” Obama said in his State of the Union address. “From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.”
The awards will go toward developing 13 new, large scale high-speed rail corridors across the country, part of a total of 31 states receiving investments.
In Florida, the money will go toward the creation of a new high-speed rail corridor connecting Tampa Bay, Orlando, Miami and other communities in central and south Florida, an area almost entirely reliant on cars between these cities. Completion of phase one of the investment — the development of the Tampa to Orlando segment of 84 miles of track — is anticipated to be completed in 2014.
The White House says today’s announcement is one of a number of job creation initiatives the president will lay out in the coming weeks.
The President will return to Washington, DC later in the afternoon.