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4/13/2011    Legislation

Rail News: News

APTA outlines latest budget cuts aimed at transit, high-speed rail

U.S. House and Senate leaders' recently negotiated a continuing resolution for the remainder of fiscal-year 2011, which averted a federal government shutdown last weekend. The measure calls for $39 billion in spending reductions from FY2010 spending levels — including steep reductions in the high-speed rail and transit programs, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

The total subcommittee discretionary budged authority allocation for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development is $55.5 billion FY2011, an 18 percent cut from FY2010 spending levels, APTA officials said in a legislative alert.

For the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the budget agreement calls for transit formula programs to remain at FY2010 levels of $8.34 billion. Funding for New Starts grants would be reduced by $400 million in FY2011 to $1.6 billion. The agreement also would rescind $280 million from FY2010 New Start funds, APTA officials said.

Other proposed transit program reductions include a $25 million cut from the FY2010 level for the FTA Energy Efficiency Grants and a $6.7 million reduction in the Research and University Research Centers Program.

The agreement’s impact on the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would include eliminating FY2011 funding for the high-speed rail program. The program was funded at $2.5 billion in FY2010, but the budget deal rescinded $400 million from FY2010, which means the U.S. Department of Transportation will not be able to redistribute the funds that Florida turned back from its high-speed rail project, according to APTA.

In addition, Amtrak capital and debt service grants would be cut by $78 million to $923.6 billion. The FRA Railroad Research and Development account would be reduced to $35.1 million from $37.6 million. As noted in previous APTA alerts, Railroad Safety Technology grants for positive train control were eliminated in earlier resolutions.


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