(CNN) - The Obama administration is pulling back $1.2 billion in funding for high-speed rail projects in Ohio and Wisconsin after the governors-elect in both states vowed to kill the proposed train lines.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that he would re-direct the funds to other states, with California set to receive the largest sum.
The Golden State will get another $624 million for a high-speed rail project that will ultimately link Los Angeles and San Francisco, while Florida will receive $342 million for an Orlando-to-Tampa line. That's on top of the funds already dedicated to the high speed rail projects in those states.
Another $162 million will go to a project in Washington state, with the remaining funds divided up among 10 more states, the Transportation Department announced.
The incoming governors in Ohio and Wisconsin, both Republicans, had promised to kill high-speed rail projects in their states during their campaigns. Scott Walker, Wisconsin's governor-elect, had expressed hope that the $810 million in federal funds for a passenger rail link between Madison and Milwaukee could be shifted to other projects.
"When push came to shove, we were willing to invest in other things, including freight rail upgrades - but not a new line between Milwaukee and Madison that we don't want and can't afford in this state," Walker told CNN.
LaHood said the funds were dedicated specifically to high-speed rail and could not be used for anything else. But Walker said he hopes the new Congress will re-examine that requirement and "start looking at the real transportation needs in this country."
"We've got crumbling roads and bridges in Wisconsin and all across America," Walker said. "We really need to be fixing those before spending billions of dollars on a train line that may work in selected parts of the country, but really in the Midwest and other core places of the country is not really suited for the kind if investment they're looking for for the taxpayers."
The Wisconsin project was to be part of an eventual line linking Minneapolis and Chicago. But Walker campaigned on a promise to kill the line, arguing the state would have been responsible for an annual operating cost of $7.5 million that Wisconsin doesn't have.
A similar argument was made in Ohio, where the Transportation Department withdrew $400 million for the construction of a passenger line that would have linked Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. Ohio's governor-elect, Republican John Kasich, campaigned on a pledge to kill the planned line – a promise critics called shortsighted.
Investments in passenger rail lines in the United States and around the world, especially high-speed rail, result in long-term economic growth, said Petra Torodovich of the Regional Plan Association, a transportation think tank and advocacy group in New York.
"It does beg to question what is the long-term economic strategy for the state of Wisconsin, and how will he grow the economy and create jobs," Torodovich said.
Currently, Amtrak's Hiawatha service between Milwaukee and Chicago is the most-used rail line in the Midwest. Proponents of high-speed rail had hoped to build on that demand, but Walker questioned both the demand for seats and the projected economic benefits.
"I just don't think the projections as to the uses of that are anywhere in the realm of reality," he said.
But outgoing Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat,called Thursday's decision "a tragic moment" for the state.
“Our team worked hard to win a national competition to make us a leader in high speed passenger rail,” Doyle said. “We were positioned to be not only a center of the line, but to be a manufacturing center as well. Now we are moving from being the leader, to the back of the line.”