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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Continuing resolution would extend FAST Act by a year


The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has issued a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund federal government programs from Oct. 1, the start of fiscal-year 2021, through Dec. 11.

The CR includes a one-year extension of surface transportation funding legislation known as the Fixing America's Transportation (FAST) Act, with an additional $13.6 billion added to the Highway Trust Fund, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation (AASHTO) Journal reported today.

A one-year extension of the FAST Act would give state departments of transportation the certainty they need for planning and budgeting building projects through the 2021 construction season, AASHTO Executive Director Jim Tymon said in the Journal.

If enacted, the extension also would provide public transit agencies with much need certainty for funding in FY2021, American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Skoutelas said yesterday in a statement.

Specifically, the bill authorizes at least $12.6 billion for public transit investment and will prevent a $6 billion across-the-board cut to public transit agencies while also providing $3.2 billion to the Highway Trust Fund's Mass Transit Account, he said.

 In addition to passing the CR, Congress needs to pass another pandemic relief bill, Skoutelas said. APTA has called on Congress to provide at least $32 billion in federal aid to assist transit agencies in dealing with a financial crisis brought on by the public health crisis, which has caused historic losses in ridership, fare revenue and state and local tax support.

"Without additional emergency funding, many transit agencies will soon need to cut transit services and routes and furlough transit workers, leaving our communities without service and jobs when they need us most," Skoutelas said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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