Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) is proposing two dangerous amendments to the Senate’s version of the stimulus bill that will drastically reduce the amount of funding available for rail and transit projects.
Amendment #162 would remove the entire $2 billion in the bill devoted to high-speed rail.
Amendment # 169 would remove the bill’s proposed $5.5 billion to be devoted to discretionary funds that could be used for highways or transit, as per the decision of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation. The entirety of these funds would be transferred directly to the highways pot, which would be increased to $32.5 billion. This amendment is being co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), James Inhofe (R-OK), Max Baucus (D-MT), Thad Cochran (R-MS), George Voinovich (R-OH), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Evan Bayh (D-IN), and Sam Brownback (R-KS).
We must fight these amendments, especially the first, which has the potential to provide the first federal funds for California’s nascent high-speed rail project. It’s unclear as of now whether Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) still plans to introduce his amendment, which would increase transit funding by $6.5 billion.