House T&I Committee set to mark-up transport and infrastructure title of Build Back Better Act

Sept. 13, 2021
The draft legislation includes nearly $20.15 billion for transit and passenger rail.

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will mark up the transportation and infrastructure title on Sept. 14 as part of the budget reconciliation process for Fiscal Year 2022.

The proposal includes nearly $20.15 billion in passenger rail and transit funding, including:

  • $9.9 billion in competitive grants to support access to affordable housing and the enhancement of mobility for residents in disadvantaged communities. The program would direct the Federal Transit Administration and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to a program that would improve job and opportunity access, better connect residents to medical car and/or enhance access to grocery stores in food deserts.
  • $10 billion for passenger rail improvement, modernization and emissions reduction grants that will be used for the planning and construction of high-speed rail projects.
  • $150 million in credit risk premium assistance through the railroad rehabilitation infrastructure and financing program, of which not less than 50 percent will be appropriated for passenger rail projects.

The proposal also includes $8 million for a grant to a qualified higher education institution to operate and study highly automated vehicles and mobility enhancements and make the research available publicly, as well as $6 billion for local surface transportation priorities.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) issued a statement ahead of the markup giving its strong support to the Transportation and Infrastructure title.

APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas said:

“The bill creates a new, innovative program to provide $10 billion for competitive grants for public transit access to affordable housing and to enhance mobility for low-income riders and residents of disadvantaged communities. The bill also provides $10 billion to plan and construct high-speed rail and $150 million to better leverage innovative financing tools for high-speed rail projects.

“APTA commends this innovative partnership of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Transit Administration to provide critically needed public transit access to affordable housing, a key step in addressing America’s housing crisis. Improving transit access is one of the most important actions we as a nation can take to address inequities in communities. Public transportation creates access to opportunities, including jobs, health care and education, which can help disadvantaged communities address the equity challenges they face. This unique partnership will create access to opportunities, growth in our communities and good-paying jobs.

“Dedicated investment in high-speed rail will make our economy stronger, our environment cleaner and help us better compete in the global marketplace—benefits that will sustain their transformative power over time. High-speed rail will better connect our communities and their local and regional transportation networks and help us meet the mobility and climate challenges of our nation.

“These critical investments in public transportation in the reconciliation bill prioritize equity, health, job creation and climate action. Investing in public transit and high-speed rail will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and public health and help transform our nation’s transportation network for a sustainable future. We look forward to working with Congress and the administration to advance the Build Back Better Act and meet the equity, climate and mobility demands of our cities and communities.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.