Chairman Denham, Ranking Member Brown, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I am John Robert Smith, Co-Chair of Transportation for America, the country’s broadest and most diverse transportation coalition. Our members hail from the fields of transportation, housing, environment, public health, real estate, safety, and social equity, representing more than 500 different organizations. I am also the President and CEO of Reconnecting America, a national nonprofit that integrates transportation and community development. Reconnecting America is the managing partner of the Center for Transit-Oriented Development, which conducts research and promotes best practices in development along transit lines.
I would like to thank the Subcommittee for holding this hearing on the role of innovative finance in intercity passenger rail. Functional, safe, and efficient transportation systems are one of the cornerstones upon which this…
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Today, transportation generally and passenger rail in particular, lost a dear friend and valiant advocate with the passing of New Jersey U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg.
Of the many trusted relationships I have formed through my work in transportation, my association with Sen. Lautenberg is one of the most highly valued. As the mayor of my hometown of Meridian, Miss., I worked closely with Sen. Trent Lott in the support of a national passenger rail network linking America's cities and towns, large and small. It was in the thick of that effort that I got to know Sen. Lautenberg and first realized the strength of that national system, which served both small town Mississippi and the rural South, and metropolitan New Jersey and the densely populated Northeast.
It was my good fortune to work with two statesmen, one a conservative Republican from Mississippi, the other a liberal Democrat from New Jersey, who did not let party affiliation or geographic…
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.
Reconnecting America President & CEO John Robert Smith was in Mobile, AL, this week to address the Gulf Coast Passenger Rail Summit. At the summit Smith was interviewed by Ron Reams of NüzzApp, a Gulf Coast regional news website.
Reconnecting America and the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) today released a report that examines how smaller communities and rural regions are using transit and other mobility investments to revitalize their economies and connect residents to local and regional opportunities.
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?