Obama plans to invest $3.2 billion in U.S. transit infrastructure

| February 15, 2011

The Obama Administration’s budget proposal, announced Feb. 14, included a record $3.2 billion in funding for 28 transit construction projects across the United States that U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood “will increase mobility, reduce energy consumption, curb air pollution, and help our nation compete to win.”

“As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union Address, we must win the future by investing in a modern transportation network that will enable us to out-compete the rest of the world,” LaHood said in a written statement. “The projects we are proposing to Congress are an important down payment on the President’s promise to strengthen our transportation networks for the 21st century.”

The spending plan included in President Obama’s budget submitted to Congress on Feb. 14 recommends investing $569.3 million in 10 new transit construction projects, including rail and bus rapid transit projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington State.

An additional 11 projects that were recommended for funding in previous years, but have not yet received federal commitments, are also being recommended for $1.4 billion in this year’s budget.

“The projects we’re recommending for funding this year have so far met the demanding requirements of the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, which ensures that they represent a good investment of taxpayer dollars,” said Administrator Peter Rogoff. “I’m confident these projects will go a long way toward making our communities stronger, offer more transportation choices and open the door to new opportunities for millions of Americans.”

In addition to the transit construction projects that have not yet been funded, the budget provides $835.4 million for the continued funding of seven additional rail transit projects already operational or under construction in New York, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Northern Virginia.

Several additional projects that might become ready for federal funding during FY 2012 were mentioned as possible candidates for $400 million that is included in the President’s budget for capital transit projects. These include the Westside Subway Extension (Subway to the Sea) and the Regional Connector Transit Corridor in Los Angeles; the Columbia River Crossing in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area; and the Charlotte Blue Line Extension in North Carolina.

All the recommendations are part of the FTA’s Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2012, available online here.

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