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Senate committee approves FY09 funds for FTA, FRA and Amtrak


Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee signed off on fiscal-year 2009 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development legislation.

The committee earmarked $66.8 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation, $2.1 billion more than the FY2008 level and $3.3 million higher than the president's request. Of that, the Federal Transportation Administration would receive $10.2 billion, $733 million more than in FY2008. The legislation earmarked $1.8 billion for the New Starts program, which provides funds for transit agencies to add and expand their services.

The bill also would provide $1.55 billion for Amtrak, $225 million more than FY2008's appropriation and $750 million more than the president's request.

"In an era of record gas prices and congested highways, the committee rejects the administration's irresponsible cuts and funds Amtrak at a level that reflects the vital role it plays in our national transportation system," committee members said in a prepared statement.  

The legislation would provide a record $1 billion in capital funds so Amtrak can address its aging infrastructure and rail cars, as well as funds to continue operating all routes and cover retroactive wage payments owed to union workers. In addition, the bill includes $100 million in state capital grants to add or improve state-supported intercity passenger-rail service.  

The committee also would allocate $1.8 billion to the Federal Railroad Administration, $254 million more than in FY2008 and $725 million more than the president's request.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/15/2008