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10/11/2005



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

House, Senate consider FY2006 transit appropriation, bless security bill


Last week, Congress approved a resolution to fund programs included in a pending appropriations bill through Nov. 18. The new federal fiscal year began Oct. 1.

The government will continue to fund programs under the FY2006 Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill (H.R. 3058), along with other unfinished appropriations bills, and cover the Federal Transit Administration’s administrative expenses. For now, the administration cannot issue FY2006 grants.

The full Senate is expected to act on its version of the FY2006 transportation appropriations bill (H.R. 3058) after Congress returns from a Columbus Day break on Oct. 17. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an $8.2 billion bill.

The House already has approved $8.5 billion in FY2006 federal transit funding. Once the Senate approves its version of the bill, a conference committee will reconcile the differences between the two bills.

Meanwhile the House and Senate last week passed the FY2006 Homeland Security appropriations bill, which includes $150 million for rail and transit security grants. Although transit security funding did not increase compared with FY2005, Congress is urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to work with state and local governments to ensure transit agencies are considered for state formula grants. In addition, Congress is encouraging the Science and Technology Directorate to identify research and design requirements for rail and transit security, and investigate the use of nanotechnology to protect transit systems.


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