Federal Rail Funding Dwarfs BRT

<p>Rail projects are favored over bus rapid transit projects when it comes to federal funding. But many say the bus systems are cheaper and more effective overall.</p>
May 15, 2007, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"New showcase bus rapid transit systems in Los Angeles; Adelaide, Australia; Bogota, Colombia and other cities have been received enthusiastically by commuters."

"But in Washington, BRT proponents say they are being out-lobbied."

"In a report to Congress in February, the Federal Transit Administration said it planned to issue grants worth $18.2 billion to help build rail projects during fiscal 2008, and about $1.4 billion for BRT projects."

"In addition to the local preference for rail systems, the federal transit agency is hamstrung by congressional earmarks in its budget."

"In a recent transportation spending authorization, Congress wrote in more than 6,000 earmarks, mandating federal support for everything from safety gates at remote rail crossings to elaborate ferry docks and other transportation infrastructure."

"Among rapid transit systems, the congressional earmarks overwhelmingly favored rail, although there were also BRT earmarks, including a $100 million authorization for a system in Birmingham, Ala."

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Published on Sunday, May 13, 2007 in The Philadelphia Inquirer
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