An exhibit at the Huntington Library called Visions of Empire: The Quest for a Railroad Across America, 1840-1880 had a comment describing payments from the government to railroad companies to assist in constructing the transcontinental railroad:
- $16,000 per mile on easy grades
- $32,000 per mile for the high plains
- $48,000 per mile in the mountains
Lots of money at the time, but a bargain considering how much it helped the economy develop.