Economic Stimulus, High-Speed Rail, Transit Funding

Stimulus Update: Details from the Final Package

Talking Points Memo has the details on allocations in the final stimulus package. How do things stand as far as transportation is concerned?

  • On funding for roads and bridges, a compromise was hatched between the House version ($30 billion) and the Senate version (just over $27 billion). The final damage? $29 billion.
  • The funding transit ditches the House’s $12 billion allocation, including Nadler’s amendment, and it maintains the Senate’s less robust $8.4 billion version. Of that, $6.9 billion is allocated to transit formula grants, and $750 million to each of fixed guideways and New Starts.
  • Amtrak supplemental capital grants were boosted considerably. The House version proposed $800 million, while the Senate proposed $850 million. The final version? $1.3 billion. However, the provision for intercity/HSR grants to states has been stripped entirely.
  • The Senate’s proposal for $5.5 billion of supplemental discretion grants — competitive grants that would be awarded at USDOT discretion — was replaced with $1.5 billion.
  • For airport grants, the Senate’s proposed $1.3 billion was maintained in the final bill.
  • The final approved bill incorporates a dramatic boost in funding toward high-speed rail. The Senate’s version allocated $2 billion, while the House’s version did not allocate any money specifically for high-speed rail. The final version, however, allocates $8 billion to high speed rail; we can thank the Obama Administration for pressing that increase forward. (Note that the United States permits itself a more generous definition of “high speed.” Although the generally accepted standard, e.g. in Europe is 200 km/hr = 125 mph, in the United States, speeds as low as 90 mph = 145 km/hr qualify as “high speed.”) It seems probable that much of the funding will be applied to proposals that have made the most progress, which is a good development for California. Among the nation’s designated high-speed rail corridors, California’s project is the furthest along in the process, having certified a programmatic level EIR/EIS, and is currently undergoing the process of preparing specific project-level environmental documents.

In its initial proposal for spending the Bay Area’s stimulus money, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission suggested $50 million (of the Senate’s proposed $2 billion for high speed rail) to be applied toward the fund for the Transbay Transit Center train box, in addition to $75 million from transit funds. We will see if or how this changes with the new $8 billion HSR allotment — as well as the other revisions that are made as MTC puts together its final plan for the Bay Area’s local transportation stimulus.




  1. Pingback: Squeezing the Sponge Dry « Transbay Blog - 13 February 2009

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


RSS Feed Facebook Twitter Flickr

Archives by Month

Archives by Topic

Archives of all blog posts, organized by topics and themes. Click here for more.


Links to some of our favorite urbanist and transit blogs, websites, advocacy groups, news sources, and government agencies. Click here for more.

If you are interested in California water issues, you may want to check out my other blog on that topic.

Copyright © 2007-2021 Transbay Blog.
%d bloggers like this: