Congressional High Speed Rail Funding To Cease

In an unusual showing of agreement by both houses, it would appear that Congress will terminate funding for HSR in a bill that authorizes funding for the transportation department next year. The House hears the bill Nov. 17; Senate the next day.
November 17, 2011, 12pm PST | Irvin Dawid
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The bill marks "an end to the president's misguided high-speed rail program, but it is not the end of American high-speed rail," said Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's railroad subcommittee.

The House Republicans indicated preference for the dense Northeast Corridor as a line likely to receive future HSR funding should it be authorized as opposed to the much broader application that President Obama conceived. Funds currently allocated would not be rescinded assuming that they meet their deadlines. In California, that nation's only planned HSR project after Florida rejected their federal funding, over $3 billion is at stake from the current fiscal year. Construction must begin next year in the Central Valley.

It is still possible for HSR projects to receive future funding from existing transportation funds such as the the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program program that will be funded. Not so lucky was the Sustainable Communities Initiative as reported by Streetsblog's Tanya Snyder:

"TIGER got $500 million. The House had zeroed it out altogether. The Senate, which had provided for $550 million, clearly won the day on this one. It includes language prioritizing rail, highway, and transit projects that improve or expand existing systems, rather than building new ones."

"Another big loss: the– HUD's contribution to the interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities – has been eliminated. "The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is one of the federal government's most effective tools," said Geoffrey Anderson of Smart Growth America in response to the cut. "

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Published on Thursday, November 17, 2011 in AP via NPR
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