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6/15/2007



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

House, Senate committees review transit legislation


Congress has had a busy week on the transit front.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies of the House Committee on Appropriations approved the FY2008 Transportation Appropriations bill, fully funding the federal transit program at the $9.7 billion level authorized under SAFETEA-LU, according to the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) weekly President’s Letter. Additional details will be available after the full committee mark-up, which is tentatively scheduled for June 18.

Yesterday, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) introduced the Transportation Energy Security and Climate Change Mitigation Act (H.R. 2701), which would provide an additional $1.6 billion for urban and rural transit agencies to expand service or reduce fares.

In addition, the Senate Subcommittee on Homeland Security Appropriations marked up a bill that would provide $400 million for transit, and passenger- and freight-rail security in FY2008 — a $125 million increase compared with FY2007’s security funding level.

Finally, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked up the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act of 2007, which includes language to preserve current laws regarding federal pre-emption of state and local standards for rail safety laws. However, the bill also includes changes in current hours of service laws, a mandate for positive train control and other modifications that would affect commuter railroads.




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