President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion omnibus appropriations bill to keep the federal government open until at least September and provides funding for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs to $13.5 billion, well more than the $12.3 billion authorized, and provides significant increases in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) commuter and intercity passenger rail programs as well.
“The bill reflects the importance that Congress places on the value of public transportation, for the contribution it makes to mobility, and for the role such investment plays in the vibrancy and economic prosperity of communities nationwide. In passing this bill, Congress has preserved the strong federal partnership with states and communities that is required to improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure. It will help create jobs, connect communities, and grow our economy,” said APTA President/CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.
Of the $13.5 billion for the FTA, $2.6 billion will go to the Capital Investment Grants (CIG) program — a slight increase from the $2.4 billion allotted in FY 2017. The bill also increases funding for buses and bus facilities over the FY 2017 level from $720 million to $1.1 billion, while funding for the rail State of Good Repair program was increased from $2.6 billion to $3 billion.
The bill also increases funding for other transit formula programs as authorized by the FAST Act, including the appropriation of $1.5 billion for the TIGER program and $250 million for Positive Train Control implementation under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grant program. It also increases Amtrak funding from $1.5 billion in FY 2017 to $1.9 billion this year, and provides significant increases for other passenger rail programs.
“Federal investments supported under these programs will help to address the $90 billion funding backlog, identified by the U.S. DOT, that is needed to bring America’s public transportation infrastructure back into a state of good repair,” added Skoutelas. “Additionally, these 2018 appropriations will help move public transportation forward and help communities of all sizes create economic growth.”
For the full story, click here.