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Morning Cup: Planes, Trains and Transformers

 This morning President Barack Obama outlined his administration’s plan to build a network of high-speed rail lines along 10 regional corridors, financed in part by the $8 billion in the stimulus bill for high-speed rail. The announcement came the day after governors from eight Midwestern states sent a joint letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking him to approve the initiative.

The Associated Press throws a bit of cold water on the effort: "By all accounts, the $8 billion isn't nearly enough to transform U.S. passenger service. Just one high-speed rail project on the drawing board in California, for instance, would cost more than $40 billion." But the governors hope the stimulus money could jump-start future funding.

The Environmental Protection Agency selected 50 of the country’s most polluted sites to receive stimulus money for cleanup operations. The funding will go toward the cleanup of hazardous mining sites in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, removing chemicals from the groundwater at two prominent Long Island Superfund sites, and hazardous waste removal from a landfill in New Jersey.

The Sunlight Foundation blog compiled a list of executive agencies that are disclosing their interactions with lobbyists. Last month, Obama released a memo (PDF) instructing agency heads to post publicly all written communications from registered lobbyists concerning the stimulus bill.

Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak today in Jefferson City, Mo., at a factory that makes transformers for wind farms.

Project of the Day: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced yesterday that $6.3 million in stimulus money will go to Peoria International Airport to help build a new terminal.

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