Media Kit » Try RailPrime™ Today! »
Progressive Railroading
Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

View Current Digital Issue »


Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation


Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Senate committee OKs spending for transportation at FAST Act levels


The Senate Appropriations Committee last week advanced a 2017 funding bill that would spend $77.9 billion on programs under the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), which would keep the Highway Trust Fund's highway and transit accounts at levels approved under the new five-year FAST Act, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

The bill would allow $16.9 billion in discretionary funding for the USDOT, which is $1.7 billion below the fiscal-year 2016 enacted level and $2.5 billion less than President Obama's budget request.

The bill includes $1.7 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, which is $76 million above the FY2016 enacted level, according to a committee press release.

Rail funding includes $1.4 billion for Amtrak for the Northeast Corridor and national network, continuing service for all current routes.

The bill also calls for:
• $334 million for rail safety and research programs — $46 million above the FY 2016 enacted level — to fund inspectors and provide training to help ensure safety of passengers and local communities;
• $50 million for rail safety in the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Improvement grants program;
• $20 million for the federal-state partnership for the State of Good Repair grants and $15 million for Restoration and Enhancement grants. Those programs aim to help implement positive train control, enhance passenger-rail safety, reduce grade crossing incidents and address the state-of-good repair backlog on shared use passenger and commuter-rail infrastructure.

The bill also provides $12.3 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, which would be $575 million above FY2016's enacted level.

For transit, the bill calls for $9.7 billion in transit formula grants as stipulated in the FAST Act, and $2.3 billion for Capital Investment Grants (New Starts), which would fully fund all current Full Funding Grant Agreement transit projects. Within that amount, $333 million would go toward core capacity projects; $241 million for Small Starts projects and $20 million for the expedited delivery pilot program.

The bill also includes $525 million for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, which would be $25 million above the FY2016 enacted level.

The committee's action advances the bill to the full Senate.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/25/2016