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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

APTA praises THUD's 2020 funding levels for transit, passenger rail

APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas
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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) last week endorsed the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) for approving a proposed fiscal-year 2020 appropriations bill that includes "historic funding levels" for public transportation and passenger rail.

The legislation includes $13.5 billion for public transportation and $2.7 billion for passenger-rail grants, more than $1 billion more than what is called for in the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act's authorization levels for FY2020 and $150 million more than the 2019 THUD Appropriations Act, APTA officials said in a press release.

The amounts would provide "essential funding to bring the nation's bus and rail systems up to a state of good repair," said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas.

"It is also significant that the subcommittee provided specific guidance to the agencies to reaffirm the importance of moving forward with critical public transportation and intercity rail projects to meet the growing transportation needs of Americans," he added.

The bill includes $2.3 billion for Capital Investment Grants (CIG) and requires the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to obligate 80 percent of these dollars by December 31, 2021. It also includes language on FTA changes to the approval process for CIG grants.

Additionally, the bill would not permit the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to withdraw $2.5 billion in federal funding awarded years ago to California's high-speed rail project. Under the legislation, the FRA also would not be permitted to transfer nearly $1 billion in federal high-speed rail grants that were terminated last week.

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More News from 5/28/2019