House Appropriations Committee Approves 2011 Transportation Spending Bill

House appropriators recently approved a $124.6 billion bill to fund transportation and housing programs in 2011. The bill if passed will provide funding for Amtrak, railroad safety programs, high speed passenger rail and money for public transportation systems across the country.

Some key highlights include:

Amtrak: $1.77 billion to make capital investments including improvements to Amtrak’s fleet and upgrades to Amtrak stations to ensure they are accessible for the disabled.

Railroad Safety Technology Program: $75 million to provide grants to help deploy positive train control (PTC) systems, which perform a critical safety function on rail lines with mixed freight and passenger traffic. These funds will help train operators with the estimated $5.5 billion necessary for initial PTC system acquisition and implementation, which is required on all lines that jointly operate passenger and freight traffic by December 15, 2015.

Passenger Rail Grant Program: $1.4 billion to expand and improve intercity passenger rail and develop a robust national high speed rail system. Intended to increase the US manufacturing base, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and decrease congestion between cities across the country by providing a transportation alternative for congested highways and air space.

Public Transportation Investments: $11.3 billion to support bus and rail projects, including capital expenditures. The bill includes $250 million for transit operating assistance grants, if legislation is enacted authorizing such activities.

Click here to view the release from the House Committee on Appropriations.

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