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Rail associations call on Congress to include transportation funds in economic stimulus package


Yesterday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure, and House Ways and Means committees held a congressional hearing to review pending and delayed transportation projects that could be quickly expedited to boost the economy. Committee members are considering whether to add a transportation element to a second economic stimulus bill.

Investing in transportation infrastructure projects would be a double bonus, transportation officials say. Not only would it create new jobs (35,000 for every $1 billion of federal investment), but an infusion of federal dollars also would foster new and improved infrastructure to meet the rapidly growing demand for transportation services.

Several transportation groups weighed in on the hearing, including the American Public Transportation Association, which has identified 559 ready-to-go public transit projects from 170 transit agencies. Worth a total of $8 billion, the projects could start within 90 days after federal funds are made available.

Meanwhile, the States for Passenger Rail Coalition called on Congress to set aside $250 million in an economic stimulus bill for intercity passenger-rail improvement projects.

In addition, the Railroad Cooperation and Education Trust, in partnership with the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association, proposed the economic stimulus package include $100 million in general funds over a two-year period for transit, short line and regional railroads to complete projects that could begin within 180 days and be "substantially completed" in 2009.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/30/2008