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2/5/2009



Rail News: Passenger Rail

APTA calls on Congress to provide $15.9 billion in transit stimulus funding


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More than 440,000 American jobs would be created and sustained if Congress included $15.9 billion for public transit in the economic stimulus package currently being debated on the Senate floor, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).

Transit agencies have identified nearly 800 projects that could launch construction within 90 days after federal funds are appropriated.

"Given how quickly public transportation projects can be started, public transportation should be an essential, well-funded piece of this critical recovery legislation," said APTA President William Millar in a prepared statement.

Last week, the House passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), which proposes $12 billion for public transit projects and $1.1 billion for intercity passenger rail, of which $800 million is designated for Amtrak and $300 million for intercity passenger-rail grants to states.

The Senate currently is debating its version of the economic recovery legislation, which proposes $8.4 billion for public transportation, $1.1 billion for intercity passenger-rail grants and $2 billion for high-speed rail. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) recently introduced an amendment that proposes to boost transit funding to $14.9 billion by increasing the transit capital pot to $10.4 billion, and adding $2 billion for rail modifications and $2.5 billion for New Starts.

However, Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) has introduced his own amendment that would eliminate a $5.5 billion program targeted for large infrastructure projects that could be used for public transit, freight-rail congestion relief or high-speed rail. He also proposed eliminating the funding for high-speed rail, according to the Midwest High Speed Rail Association.


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