The US has awarded $8bn in grants to 31 states to develop and lay the groundwork for 13 new high-speed rail corridors across the country.

California won the highest grant of $2.25bn, followed by Florida’s $1.25bn share for the 84-mile 168mph link between Tampa, Orlando and Miami and Illinois’ $1.1bn share for the Chicago Hub Network connecting Chicago to Midwestern cities from Detroit to St Louis.

This is followed by a nearly $800m grant for Chicago-Minneapolis corridors and $590m to Washington for upgardes to the Amtrak service.

Funded through the Recovery Act, the investment will develop the country’s first nationwide programme of high-speed intercity passenger rail services.

US President Barack Obama said that the investment will help break ground across the country, putting people to work building high-speed rail lines.

“There’s no reason why Europe or China should have the fastest trains when we can build them right here in America,” Obama said.

Over 30 rail manufacturers including GE, Canada’s Bombardier, France’s Alstom, Germany’s Siemens, Lockheed Martin, Korea’s Hyundai Rotem and Japan’s Nippon Sharyo have agreed to establish or expand their base of operations in the US if they are hired for the rail projects.