The focus of last week's announcement of DOT's $2.4 billion in grants for rail corridors was on passenger trains, but it turns out about $1 billion of that will benefit freight corridors, as well.

In total, 54 applications were selected to receive approximately $2.5 billion in FY10 and remaining FY09 funding. DOT Undersecretary for Policy Roy Kienitz said most of the other $1 billion goes into tracks shared with major freight railroads, reports the Journal of Commerce.

Many of the projects are laying the foundation for high-speed rail. These include things like putting signaling and safety systems in place that increase the capacity to run more trains more quickly on these lines. That will help the railroads run more freight trains more quickly -- including those carrying intermodal containers -- as well as us running more passenger trains more quickly.

Some of the funds will go into automated train control technology, projects to eliminate road-rail grade crossings on shared freight and passenger tracks that can slow train service, and some double-tracking in existing freight corridors.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also pointed out that high-speed passenger train routes can alleviate congestion on crowded highways and allow freight to flow more freely by truck.