Details of the transit provisions of stimulus bill -- $283 million for CTA?
It's time to get back to the final transit details of Obama's stimulus. Last week was such a big news week for the CTA -- from the Olympics to the budget deficit to the articulated bus problems -- that I didn't get to it. So here's a follow-up, now that the bill has been signed into law.
Bottom line: great news for high speed rail, not as great for mass transit funding. Following is from an email sent by the Midwest High Speed Rail Association:
"Here is a break down of
the transportation funds:
- $27.5 billion for highway investments
- $8.4 billion for public transportation.
- $1.5 billion for competitive grants to state and local governments.
- $1.3 billion for the air transportation system.
- $9.3 billion for rail transportation, including Amtrak, High Speed and Intercity Rail.
"This is the breakdown for intercity passenger
- $8 billion for capital assistance for HSR Corridors and Intercity Passenger Rail Service. "The conferees have provided the Secretary flexibility in allocating resources between the programs to advance the goal of deploying intercity high speed rail systems in the U.S."
- $1.3 billion for Amtrak. Of this, $450 million is earmarked for security and life safety improvements. The remaining $850 million is intended for projects that will increase capacity, including rolling stock rehabilitation. No more than 60% of these funds can be spent in the Northeast Corridor."
As for the CTA, Board Chairman Carole Brown told Congress last month the CTA had $500 million in "shovel ready" projects to be funded. But it looks like it will get just more than half of that amount. On Chicago Tonight last week, Brown said the CTA was slated to get $283 million from stimulus plan for buses and rail cars. "That will reduce maintenance costs, thus helping the operating budget," she said.
Interestingly, a commenter yesterday opined here about the "coincidence that all of these buses were pulled from service the same week that the stimulus bill passed. A lot of agencies will be trying to get as much as they can from it, and this puts a large CTA need in the spotlight just as the money is being divvied up."
I do think it was a coincidence, and I certainly hope they get that money and more to get new buses and trains in service, and reduce their repair budget.