Well, it’s official. Last week, we commented in this space about some states passing on federal money for high-speed rail and others, including Missouri, hoping to get that money that’s now up for grabs.

This week, Gov. Jay Nixon outlined those plans in some detail, $973 million in requests. The specifics are noteworthy. They include new locomotives and passenger cars – not a bad idea, as those who have ridden Amtrak across the state might agree. They include a new bridge near Union Station in Kansas City. The biggest portion of the request, $600 million, is for land acquisition, preliminary engineering and related work along the Kansas City-to-St. Louis route.

The plan also addresses one of the biggest limits to moving lots of trains – passenger and freight – on the Union Pacific line that traverses the state. From Jefferson City to Independence (basically across from Truman High School) the line is mostly a single track. The governor’s request includes $58 million to work on double-tracking that section – and installing track that allows higher speeds. That’s the single best thing to be done to improve traffic.

The governor says this work would create 1,300 badly needed jobs, and he’s presumably happy that the state would only have to find $4.5 million to match the federal money. If Washington goes along, this would be a welcome step toward a more efficient economy in our state.