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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

USDOT recommends $2.2 billion for rail, bus transit projects


Yesterday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is recommending $2.2 billion in funding to begin or advance the construction of rail and bus rapid transit projects in 15 states.

The projects were included in President Obama’s proposed fiscal-year 2013 budget, which called for providing $243.7 million for seven new transit construction projects, including rail and bus rapid transit projects in California, Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Washington State, USDOT officials said in a prepared statement.

An additional 10 projects that were recommended for funding in previous years, but have not yet received federal commitments, will receive $769.5 million in this year’s budget, they said.

In addition to the transit projects not yet funded, the proposed budget calls for $1.2 billion for the continued funding of 12 rail and bus rapid transit projects already under construction in Dallas; Denver; Hartford, Conn.; Houston; Minneapolis-St. Paul; New York City; northern Virginia; Orlando, Fla.,; Salt Lake City; and Seattle.

Meanwhile, a number of transit organizations announced their projects are included in the president’s proposed budget.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) officials said the budget proposal includes $250 million for the Honolulu Rail Transit project, a 20-mile elevated rail transit system to be built between East Kapolei and Ala Moana.

“The latest budget request from the Obama administration verifies that the [Federal Transit Administration] continues to support this project,” said HART Chairwoman Carrie Okinaga.

In addition, the budget proposal would allocate funding for the LYNX Blue Line extension in Charlotte, N.C.; $50 million for the Westside Subway Extension project in Los Angeles and $31 million for the area’s Regional Connector Project; and $20 million for the 3.1-mile light-rail extension into downtown Mesa, Ariz.

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More News from 2/15/2012