Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dem leadership holds fast on transit funding

A key House committee refused to raid the transit fund for the money to build more highways, as the Bush administration wanted. Unfortunately, there is still not enough money in the transit fund to meet this country's needs.

From CQ Politics:

House Panel Approves Transportation-Housing Spending

The chairman of the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee on Friday said the projected shortfall of the federal Highway Trust Fund is not his panel’s responsibility to fix.

“This shortfall is not of this committee’s making,” said John W. Olver , D-Mass.

Both the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office have projected the trust fund will run up to a $3.7 billion deficit in fiscal 2009. The panel rejected requests from the Bush administration to borrow $3.2 billion from the mass transit fund to make up for the difference.

The subcommittee approved a $108.3 billion appropriations bill with about $55 billion in discretionary spending for transportation, housing and other independent agencies such as the Washington-area Metro system. The bill would appropriate $66.7 billion for transportation and $41.5 billion for housing.

Keeping with the guarantees in the 2005 highway law, the panel provided $40.2 billion for highways and $10.3 billion for public transit services. That number includes $1.8 billion for new commuter transit lines.

Amtrak received $1.5 billion, including $114 million additional funds for back pay to union employees who worked without a pay increase for eight years. That’s significantly more than the president’s $800 million request.


enoughalready said...

Republican Sensenbrenner voted against the bill. No surprise I suppose, but worth noting I think. Domocrat Moore, on the other hand, voted for the bill.

enoughalready said...

I need to clarify. The bill I was referring to was HR 6003, "The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act." Sensenbrenner voted 'Nay' on June 11, 2008. I realize now that the post was about a Subcommittee action, not the bill I had in mind.

enoughalready said...

Also noteworthy perhaps: Last year, Sen. Obama co-sponsored Sen. Lautenberger's bill to provide an 80/20 federal funding match to states for new intercity passenger rail service.