Breaking: Schumer Releases Amendment; Will Up Transit Funds to $14.9 Billion

Would represent a $3 billion increase from stimulus bill House passed last week

Transportation for America reports that Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will introduce an amendment to the Senate’s version of the stimulus bill to increase overall expenditures on transit from the proposed $8.4 billion to $14.9 billion, up from the $12 billion proposed in the bill that the House passed last week, even including the $3 billion amendment Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) managed to drop in. Mr. Nadler will be working with Mr. Schumer to encourage the passing of the amendment, and the two will work together once the stimulus bills from the House and Senate meet in the Conference Committee.

Here are a few choice excerpts from the Schumer presser:

“Schumer’s amendment would boost funding in the Senate version of the stimulus package by $6.5 billion, from $8.4 billion currently in the bill to $14.9 billion. Specifically, Schumer’s amendment would increase funding in the transit capital pot from $8.4 billion to 10.4 billion, add $2 billion for rail modifications, and $2.5 billion for New Starts. The last two funding increases would match funding in the House bill.”

“Schumer and Nadler said the capital pot must grow to reflect out-of-control capital costs for transit systems, “rail mod” is important for aging rail systems, of which New York has many and more money for New Starts is important to projects like East Side Access and 2nd Ave subway, as well as NJ ARC.”

The Schumer amendment’s improvements over the Nadler amendment is its increase in funds for formula funds to transit agencies (by $2 billion), and add $1 billion over the House bill for rail modifications.

This is a big improvement, though we’re still a bit concerned about the lack of funds for operating expenses, which are becoming an increasing problem. We’ll be following this closely and report on it once the Senate has considered it.

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