On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) approved a $53.4 billion appropriations bill funding investments in the nation's roads, bridges, rail and transit systems and airports, as well as housing assistance for low-income families and veterans. The American High Speed Rail Alliance (AHSRA) is pleased that $100 million is included for a "high performance" passenger rail grant program for states, in addition to funding for Amtrak, the TIGER program and the New Starts program.
Highlights of the bill include:
$1.75 billion for the nation's rail infrastructure. Of the total amount provided, $100 million is for the High Performance Passenger Rail grant program to assist states with the improvement of existing intercity services, congestion mitigation and multi-state planning initiatives and $1.45 billion is for Amtrak. $2.044 billion, $89 million above the fiscal year 2012 enacted level, for the Federal Transit Administration's "New Starts" program. This funding supports projects that will provide new or expanded public transportation services. $500 million for the TIGER grant program to support significant transportation projects in a wide variety of modes, including highways and bridges, public transportation, passenger and freight railroads, and port infrastructure. The funding level included in the bill is equal to the fiscal year 2012 enacted level.
The bill now heads to the full Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, April 19, 2012 for further review. The House Appropriations Committee has yet to act on the fiscal year 2013 THUD appropriations bill.