The back story on commuter rail funding in the recovery bill:
The $787.2 billion economic recovery bill — to be signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday — dedicates $8 billion to high-speed rail, most of which was added in the final closed-door bargaining at the instigation of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.
It’s a sum that far surpasses anything before attempted in the United States — and more is coming.
$1 billion a year for the next five years, according to the Politico.
“I put it in there for the president,” Emanuel said in an interview. “The president wanted to have a signature issue in the bill, his commitment for the future.”
Incidentally, officials in my region have been fighting over re-opening a commuter line between Reading (where I live) and Philadelphia, but they've run into serious funding issues. For the last couple of years, the project has been effectively dead. Hopefully this will move that project back into go-mode.