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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

House appropriations subcommittee approves bill that would cut funding for transit, Amtrak and high-speed rail


Yesterday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) approved a $44.1 billion appropriations bill, which contains spending levels that are $7 billion less than last year and would cut more than $4 billion from the current spending level under sequestration.

The bill would prohibit the use of any appropriated funds for the California high-speed rail program, and would "significantly reduce" operations and capital/debt service funding for Amtrak, according to an American Public Transportation Association (APTA) legislative alert issued yesterday.

Although the bill would fully fund transit and highway programs under the Highway Trust Fund at MAP-21 authorized levels, it would set transit programs funded out of the general fund at levels below authorized amounts, the alert states. Capital investment grants would be funded at $1.816 billion, or $91 million less than the authorized level of $1.9 billion. The bill also would cut the Federal Transit Administration's administrative budget to $102.7 million from the authorized level of $104 million, APTA officials said.

In addition, the measure would rescind funds appropriated to carry out New Starts in 2006 and prior years, and would prohibit the use of funds to enter into new full funding grant agreements for New Starts projects with a federal share of more than 50 percent.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program would receive no FY2014 funding, and the program's prior year unobligated balance of $237 million would be rescinded.

As it has done for the past several years, the Senate is expected to include "substantial" TIGER grant funding in its own THUD appropriations bill, APTA officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/20/2013