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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Foxx touts Obama FY2016 budget's $3.2 billion for rail, BRT and streetcar projects


Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx highlighted $3.2 billion recommended in President Obama’s FY2016 budget to advance the construction or completion of 25 rail, bus rapid transit (BRT) and streetcar projects in 13 states.

Funded through the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program, the projects would create thousands of construction and operations-related jobs and help communities expand transportation choices that offer new ladders of opportunity for residents, Foxx said in a prepared statement.

“President Obama has laid out a bold vision for investing in 21st century transportation infrastructure that provides millions of Americans improved access to employment, education and other vital services, while also supporting the nation’s growing economy,” he said. “We are committed to ensuring that every American has access to the ladders of opportunity that lead to success — and public transportation is essential to making that happen.”

The president’s proposed budget includes funding recommendations for 11 new transit projects, including the Mid-Coast Corridor Project in San Diego, which will extend light-rail service to University City, Calif., improving access to educational institutions and the Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in north San Diego and connecting residents to existing light-rail service in downtown San Diego.

The recommendations also include ongoing funding for nine transit projects that have already received construction grant agreements from the FTA and are under construction. Existing projects are located in Boston, Charlotte, Denver, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Portland, Ore., San Francisco, and San Jose, Calif.

Five additional transit projects that had been recommended in previous budgets for funding but had yet to receive construction grant agreements are recommended again for FY2016 funding. The projects are located in Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; Fort Worth, Texas; and San Francisco and Fresno, Calif.

The president’s budget proposal also includes $320 million for Accelerated Project Delivery and Development — a new funding category that would provide an opportunity for other projects to move forward if they become ready for a construction grant prior to the end of the fiscal year. At least $75 million of these funds would be reserved to help small urban and rural communities implement new bus service with premium features.

The budget also reserves $351 million for the growing number of requests for Core Capacity improvements. These funds are available for fixed guideway projects in transit corridors that already are at or above capacity, or are expected to be within five years.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/5/2015