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Senate committee passes transportation appropriation bill

U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee July 26 unanimously approved the fiscal-year 2003 Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, preparing the way for full Senate consideration — and, at $9.2 billion more than the level requested by the Bush Administration, possibly setting the stage for a king of the "Hill" fight for funding.

The bill would provide Amtrak the $1.2 billion President and Chief Executive Officer David Gunn requested — but $679 million more than Bush’s budget proposed, and $7.33 billion for Federal Transit Administration, which is $455 million more than enacted for FY02 and $100 million more than Bush requested.

Bush’s budget also proposed a $8.6 million cut to the highway program, which was restored in the committee’s version. And new user fees the president proposed ($165 million on Coast Guard users, $59 million for the railroad industry and $6 million for companies that transport hazardous materials) were not included in the committee’s bill.

Finally, under terms of the draft bill, Transportation Security Administration would receive $4.95 billion — $150 million more than the president requested for homeland security.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/26/2002