At a meeting with magazine editors in New York, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood described high-speed rail as a boon to the economy and a path to more "livable" cities. "People want this," he said. "They come back from Europe or Asia, and people scratch their heads and say, why don't we have high-speed trains here?" Recipients of some $8 billion in federal high-speed rail funding will be announced in early 2010.

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