The US Federal Railroad Administration has received 77 applications from 25 states for the agency's next allocation of High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) grant funds, according to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
The applications total more than $8.5bn, but the agency will only consider requests for $2.3bn of funding, approved by Congress, for distribution this year.
The funding is in addition to the $8bn appropriated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last year as a down payment for the HSIPR programme.
To date, ten states have submitted 20 applications worth $7.8bn for high-speed rail corridor development, and 18 states have submitted 57 applications worth $700m for smaller projects.
Recipients of the funding will be announced by the end of the year.