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Rail News: Passenger Rail

House signs off on amended economic stimulus bill, more transit funds


Yesterday, the House approved a slightly trimmed $819 billion economic stimulus package that includes more funds for transit than proposed in the original $825 billion American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan (H.R. 1). The measure calls for $544 billion in federal spending and $275 billion in tax cuts for individuals and businesses.

The legislation now includes $12 billion for public transit instead of the previously proposed $9 billion. An amendment introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and approved by the House increases transit agency formula funding by $1.5 billion and New Starts funding by $1.5 billion. The original bill had called for providing $6 billion for transit capital assistance grants, $2 billion for fixed guideway infrastructure investment, $1 billion for New Starts and $1.1 billion for intercity passenger rail, including $800 million for Amtrak and $300 million for states.

The states of New York and California will be the two largest recipients of the transit money, said Nadler in a prepared statement, adding that hundreds of millions of additional dollars could be available for MTA New York City Transit's Second Avenue Subway project and MTA Long Island Rail Road's East Side Access project.

Next week, the Senate is expected to vote on its $888 billion version of the bill, which proposes $8.4 billion for transit formula spending and $5.5 billion for competitive surface transportation grants that could be allocated to states or local governments for public transit, new starts, passenger or freight rail, port infrastructure or highway projects, according to the National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association. The Senate's version also proposes $850 million for Amtrak, $250 million for intercity passenger-rail grants to states and $2 billion for high-speed rail corridors.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/29/2009