December 21, 2009
Check the classifieds in this issue for information about numerous managerial and supervisory positions!
Transit Funding Approved for 2010; Awaiting Presidentís Signature
The House and Senate have approved a $1.07 trillion omnibus appropriations measure that the president is expected to sign. Within this bill—the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations, which includes all discretionary funding for DOT—is $10.7 billion for public transit programs: an all-time high, representing an increase of more than $500 million over FY 2009. In addition, $2.5 billion in grants is provided to support intercity rail service and high-speed rail corridors within the programs of the Federal Railroad Association.
Further, the Department of Homeland Security announced Dec. 14 that $253 million in grants will be available to high-risk metropolitan transit systems under the Transit Security Grant program. This money will go toward equipment and training, which over the past several years has included such information technology items as perimeter security systems, surveillance systems, and interoperable communications.
House Wraps Up Work for 2009
As the House of Representatives wrapped up its work for the year last week, it passed:
* A five-day extension of SAFETEA-LU until Dec. 23;
* The FY 2010 Defense appropriations, which included a two-month extension of SAFETEA-LU, effectively extending highway and transit funding at FY 2009 levels for two months to give the Senate time to consider a second stimulus bill in January; and
* A second stimulus bill, referred to as the "Jobs" bill.
At press time, the Senate was still in session, but was expected to pass both extensions.
The "Jobs" bill, which the Senate is expected to take up in January, would provide an additional $8.4 billion for transit and extend SAFETEA-LU through Sept. 30, 2010.
The plans for the proposed second stimulus bill began on Dec. 8, when President Barack Obama spoke about job creation, focusing on the need to invest in America’s roads, bridges, and infrastructure and calling specifically for additional funding in transit and rail, among other areas. By asking for new investments in a wide range of infrastructure, the plan is designed to fund projects that can start quickly while continuing a sustained effort at creating jobs and improving America’s productivity.
APTA President William Millar applauded Obama’s plan and noted that the industry stands ready to put additional investment to work immediately. “The public transportation industry has identified more than $15 billion in public transportation capital projects that can be started in 90 days,” he said. “It is estimated that this investment in public transportation would support and create more than 450,000 jobs.”
Congressional leaders, including James L. Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and David R. Obey (D-WI), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, worked on the infrastructure focus to the Jobs package.
The "Jobs" bill appropriates a total of $37.3 billion for DOT—including $27.5 billion for highway and transit projects under conditions almost identical to those governing the $27.5 billion in the first stimulus package, and $8.4 billion appropriated for public transit, again under conditions similar to those governing the same amount in the first stimulus bill. The ratios for the amounts are different, however, in that ARRA gave $6.9 billion to capital formula grants and $750 million each to rail modernization and New Starts/Small Starts, while the proposed bill gives $6.15 billion to formula grant programs, $1.75 billion for rail modernization, and $500 million to New Starts/Small Starts.