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President Obama proposes FY2010 budget appropriations for New Starts program, high-speed rail and Amtrak


Last week, the Obama Administration released detailed FY2010 budget recommendations for all federal programs.

The Administration is proposing $10.3 billion for surface transportation programs, slightly higher than the FY2009 appropriation. The budget proposal assumes any transportation funding growth is subject to a new surface transportation authorization bill. The current surface transportation legislation is set to expire in September.

"The Administration is developing a comprehensive approach for surface transportation reauthorization," according to an American Public Transportation Association Legislative Alert, citing the budget submission. "Consequently, the budget contains no policy recommendations for programs subject to reauthorization. Instead, the budget displays baseline funding levels for all surface transportation programs."

The Administration also proposes $1.8 billion for capital investment grants, including $604.3 million for five projects under the New Starts program and five projects under the Small Starts program. (For a list of the recommended New Starts projects, follow this link, and for details on the recommended Small Starts program, follow this link.) In addition, the spending plan would include funding for 29 projects currently under way that have received federal funding commitments in previous years.

As previously promised, the budget also recommends $1 billion for high-speed and intercity passenger-rail service, the first of a five-year program to build on the $8 billion included for high-speed rail in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Administration also proposed $1.5 billion for Amtrak in FY2010, slightly higher than the railroad's $1.49 billion FY2009 appropriation.

However, the Administration proposes reduced funding for the Rail and Public Transportation Security Grants program from $400 million (plus $150 million in ARRA funds) in FY2009 to $250 million in FY2010. The 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act authorizes $900 million for transit security grants in FY2010.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/11/2009