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Obama announces $8 billion investment in high-speed train system

  • Projects and planning involving rail corridors will take place in 31 states, White House says
  • Investment will be made through state grants funded by $862 billion stimulus package
  • More than 30 rail manufacturers agree to establish or expand U.S. operations if hired

Washington (CNN) -- President Obama announced Thursday that the federal government will spend $8 billion developing a nationwide high-speed train system -- an investment the White House says is needed to help spur long-term economic growth.

The investment, to be made through a series of state grants, will be funded through the government's $862 billion economic stimulus package.

Overall, projects and planning involving the rail corridors will take place in 31 states, according to a White House statement.

The program "will help accelerate job growth in an economy that is already beginning to grow," Obama said at a town hall at the University of Tampa in Florida.

"There is no reason why other countries can build high-speed rail lines and we can't," Obama said.

More than 30 rail manufacturers have agreed to establish or expand U.S. operations if they are hired to work on the high-speed rail network, the administration said.

The president first mentioned the program in his State of the Union speech Wednesday night. The administration initially released an outline for a national high-speed rail network last April.

Each of the corridors identified by the administration last year are between 100 and 600 miles long.

Video: Obama's Tampa town hall

The program is "a long-term venture in which states will need to plan projects, purchase and lay track, build and assemble equipment, and construct or upgrade train stations, tunnels and bridges," the statement said.

In addition to the $8 billion mentioned by Obama, the plan also includes $1 billion a year for five years in the federal budget "as a down payment to jump-start the program," the White House said.

Train corridors in the program include:

-- San Diego-Los Angeles-San Luis Obispo in California

-- Oakland-Sacramento in California

-- Portland-Eugene in Oregon

-- Seattle-Portland in Washington and Oregon

-- Chicago-St. Louis in Illinois and Missouri

-- St. Louis-Kansas City in Missouri

-- Minneapolis/St. Paul-Madison in Minnesota and Wisconsin

-- Madison-Milwaukee in Wisconsin

-- Milwaukee-Chicago in Wisconsin and Illinois

-- Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati in Ohio

-- Detroit/Pontiac-Chicago in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois

-- Tampa-Orlando in Florida

-- Raleigh-Charlotte in North Carolina

-- Washington-Richmond in the District of Columbia and Virginia

-- Raleigh-Richmond in North Carolina and Virginia

-- New York City-Albany-Buffalo in New York

-- New York City-Montreal in New York and Quebec, Canada.

-- Boston-New York-Washington in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia

-- Brunswick-Portland in Maine

-- Philadelphia-Harrisburg-Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania

-- Springfield-East Northfield in Massachusetts

-- New Haven-Springfield in Connecticut and Massachusetts