Reconnecting America today released an updated version of its Jumpstarting the Transit Space Race interactive map, which documents the national interest in fixed-guideway transit. The fresh data show demand for transit development is even greater than when the first Space Race report was released in October 2008.
The recently announced compromise to fund the federal government through the remainder of FY2011 preserves several critical programs, but also raises cause for concern. Reconnecting America is pleased to see that the compromise continues to support the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which is effectively coordinating federal housing and transportation programs to provide the greatest benefits at the regional and local levels. Programs such as DOT's TIGER grants and HUD's Sustainable Communities grants will save taxpayer dollars over the long-term by helping communities make better investments today.
However, the reduction in the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts/Small Starts program (see analysis of cuts here) and the complete elimination of the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program in FY 2011 is a step in the wrong direction. In this era of $4-a-gallon gas, Americans need more transportation options, not fewer. In…
Q. How much funding is cut from the New Starts/Small Starts program?
A. The final Continuing Resolution, which would fund the government through the end of FY2011, made two cuts to the federal New Starts/Small Starts program, which provides funding for fixed guideway (e.g., subway, light rail, commuter rail, bus rapid transit) projects. The amount of funding cut from FY11 depends on what the baseline for comparison is. The CR would fund the New Starts/Small Starts program in FY11 at $1.6 billion, which is $400 million less than the FY10 level – but only about $220 million less than what the President requested for FY11. (The President’s request for FY11 was $1.822 billion, while the FY10 actual appropriation was $2 billion).
The CR also rescinds $280 million from unobligated funds that were appropriated to FTA prior to FY11.
Q. Is it true that all of the funding that is cut is attributable to New Jersey’s ARC project?
On February 15, 2011, the Federal Transit Administration issued its Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for the New Starts and Small Starts program for fiscal year 2012 (FY 2012). The report lists the New Starts and Small Starts projects that make up the program budget included in the President’s FY 2012 Federal Budget, which was released on February 14, 2011. The total budget for the New Starts and Small Starts programs in the President’s FY 2012 budget is $3,225,556,000.
Reconnecting America President and CEO John Robert Smith commended the Obama administration for the $2.4 billion in grants announced today for the development of high-speed and inter-city passenger rail corridors in the United States.
Reconnecting America President and CEO John Robert Smith applauded today's award of nearly $600 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II construction and planning grants.
President Obama has proposed $1.82 billion for 27 New Starts/Small Starts transit projects in his FY 2011 budget, including 10 new projects, nine that had previously been recommended for funding and eight projects already under construction. Winners of new Full Funding Grant Agreements include two bus rapid transit projects in Oakland and Connecticut, San Francisco’s Central Subway, rail projects in Honolulu and the Twin Cities and two lines in Denver.
WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced a change in the criteria on which federal transportation funding decisions are based that moves away from “very narrow cost and performance criteria” to a consideration of “all the factors that help communities reduce their carbon footprint, spur economic activity, and relieve congestion.” These considerations would include economic development, mobility improvements, environmental benefits, operating efficiencies and land use – in addition to cost effectiveness. LaHood promised that the Federal Transit Administration would initiate a rulemaking process to accomplish this change shortly. The new rules will be used to award some $2 billion a year in funding through the New Starts and Small Starts transit funding programs.
"The libertarian noise machine against public transportation has been so loud in recent years that it would be easy to conclude all conservatives must agree with it," writes Ehrenhalt. "That is why it is so interesting to come across the new book Moving Minds, the contrarian work that Paul M. Weyrich wrote before his untimely death last year."