Amendment would add $3 billion for transit in the stimulus bill
Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has successful pushed through the House Rules Committee an amendment that would dramatically increase the stimulus bill’s provisions for transit funding, reports Streetsblog. Mr. Nadler, who proposed the amendment along with Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Mike McMahon (D-NY), and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL), will now present the amendment to the full House by noon tomorrow, where it will be considered for a vote. Now would be the time to contact your representative to ask them for their support.
The existing bill proposal is too limited in its provisions for transit and would a disappointing start to the Obama administration, but Mr. Nadler’s amendment provides the opportunity to readjust the stimulus to greatly increase transit funding, especially for new capital projects.
Mr. Nadler’s amendment will add $1.5 billion to the proposed allocation for transit capital assistance, which would be distributed according to the standard formula system (which benefits systems with high numbers of riders already and helps pay for buses, rail cars, track improvements, station renovations, and the like). This would be in addition to the $6 billion proposed in the current draft of the legislation. The amendment would provide $2.5 billion for capital investment grants, meaning major New Start and Small Start projects, up from the only $1 billion proposed in the current draft.
We’ll see how the full House votes on this exciting amendment, though the major question that remains is how the Senate will respond to Mr. Nadler’s actions. The upper chamber currently has on its table a slightly different version of the bill with low funding proposals for transit funding, similar to those of the House’s first draft.