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USDOT proposes FY2005 budget

On Feb. 2, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta unveiled a $58.7 billion fiscal-year 2005 transportation budget — a $4 billion increase compared with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s FY04 budget proposal.

The budget increases funding for the Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2003 (SAFETEA). Introduced last May, the bill would provide $247 billion in transportation funds during the next six years. But because of an increase in FY04 transportation appropriations approved by Congress and signed by the President late last month, the Administration has proposed increasing the six-year bill to $256 billion.

The budget also includes $900 million for Amtrak — the same amount the Administration proposed for the national passenger railroad in FY04. But if Congress approves the Passenger Rail Investment Reform Act — which would transform Amtrak into three separate entities — the Administration could increase funding requests to $1.4 billion in FY06.

Next week, Amtrak expects to release an outline of necessary FY05 infrastructure improvements. The passenger railroad has not yet requested funds for FY05, but plans to ask for more than $900 million, said Amtrak President David Gunn in a prepared statement.

Congress recently approved $1.2 billion for Amtrak in FY04.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/3/2004