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7/3/2001



Rail News: Passenger Rail

DOT budget bill passed by House, moves on to Senate


U.S. House of Representatives June 27 passed Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2002 (H.R. 2299), and requested Senate concurrence.



If passed, the bill would provide $25.1 million for expenses related to Federal Railroad Administration’s Next Generation High-Speed Rail program, and $521 million for Amtrak’s capital expenses. House Amendment 116 would decrease funds allocated for Amtrak Reform Council by $335,000 — from $785,000 to $450,000.



Federal Transit Administration would receive $6.7 billion, including funds earmarked for many capital improvement projects, such as:



Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., Hiawatha corridor project ($50 million);

Denver Southeast corridor light rail transit project ($60 million);

Largo, Md., Metrorail extension project ($60 million);

San Diego Mission Valley East, Calif., Light rail transit project ($65 million);

Portland, Ore., Interstate MAX light rail transit extension project ($70 million);

Dallas North central light rail transit extension project ($70 million);

San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit/San Francisco International Airport extension ($80.6 million); and

New Jersey Hudson Bergen light rail transit project ($141 million).



Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Texas Democrat, lobbied without success to strike section 329, which states, "None of the funds in this act shall be available for planning, design or construction of a light rail system in Houston, Texas."



Congressman John Culberson, a Texas Republican, led the opposition against Jackson-Lee’s amendment, stating that Texas law requires voter approval to build a rail system, and that the highest transportation need in Harris County is the completed expansion of the Katy Freeway.



The bill was referred to Committee on Appropriations.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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