The “base bill” of HR 1 – not the amendments – would do the following:
- Eliminate the entire high-speed rail program.
- Cut $430 million of the $2 billion allocated for the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, the federal government’s primary means of support for transit capital investments.
- Eliminate TIGER, which provided more than $2 billion to innovative state and local transportation programs around the country last year, and rescind all unspent funds from last year.
I’m having trouble finding a report with the final provisions of the bill, but in any case it appears likely the Senate will restore many of these cuts. But if not, or the if the conference committee goes awry, the local implications would be large:
- $34m of high speed rail funding is going to the D to M Sounder extension, and another $9m to Tukwila Station. That’s in addition to the long list of Amtrak Cascades projects funded under that umbrella.
- According to Metro, the House Bill cuts $21.3m in 2011 from the RapidRide C budget and $38m in 2012 for RapidRide E and F.
- Any shrinkage of the New Starts funding pool of course makes it harder for upcoming projects, like Sound Transit 2, to obtain federal funding. In general, the project list assumes a large federal contribution and will suffer serious casualties if the federal government reduces it commitments.
- University Link already has a Full Funding Grant Agreement. It’s Sound Transit’s understanding that the House bill does not intend to renege on those agreements, and in any case U-Link is extremely competitive even in a tighter environment.
One presumes Sen. Patty Murray has our back on this, but it never hurts to send her a note letting you know how important it is for you.