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Obama Budget Calls for $3.2 Billion to Upgrade Transit

Proposed budget would fund 28 transit construction projects across the nation.

President Obama's proposed fiscal-year 2012 budget includes a record $3.2 billion in funding for 28 transit construction projects across the United States.

Obama's budget, which was submitted to Congress earlier this week, recommends investing $569.3 million in 10 new transit construction projects, including rail and bus rapid-transit projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington state.

The proposed spending plan allocates $1.4 billion for 11 projects that previously were recommended for federal funding but had not been approved.

The proposed budget provides $835.4 million for the continued funding of seven additional rail transit projects already operational or under construction in New York City, Dallas, Salt Lake City, Seattle and Northern Virginia.

"As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address, we must win the future by investing in a modern transportation network that will enable us to out-compete the rest of the world," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said earlier this week. "The projects we are proposing to Congress are an important down payment on the president's promise to strengthen our transportation networks for the 21st century."

The Department of Transportation, in a news release, asserted that the transit projects "will increase mobility, reduce energy consumption, curb air pollution and help our nation compete to win."

"The projects we're recommending for funding this year have so far met the demanding requirements of the Federal Transit Administration's 'New Starts' program, which ensures that they represent a good investment of taxpayer dollars," said Peter Rogoff, administrator for the Federal Transit Administration. "I'm confident these projects will go a long way toward making our communities stronger, offer more transportation choices and open the door to new opportunities for millions of Americans."

New Projects in the Budget

According to the Department of Transportation, Obama's proposed FY 2012 budget includes funding for the following 10 new transit construction projects:

  • Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project -- San Jose, Calif.
  • Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project -- Portland, Ore.
  • Draper Transit Corridor -- Salt Lake County, Utah
  • Mesa, Central Mesa LRT Extension -- Mesa, Ariz.
  • Fresno Area Express Blackstone/Kings Canyon BRT -- Fresno, Calif.
  • JTA BRT North Corridor -- Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Silver Line BRT -- Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Mesa Corridor BRT -- El Paso, Texas
  • RapidRide E Line BRT -- King County, Wash.
  • RapidRide F Line BRT -- King County, Wash.
Several additional projects that might become ready for federal funding during FY 2012 were mentioned as possible candidates for $400 million that is included in the president's budget for capital transit projects. They include the Westside Subway Extension (Subway to the Sea) and the Regional Connector Transit Corridor in Los Angeles; the Columbia River Crossing in the Portland, Ore. and Vancouver, Wash. area; and the Charlotte Blue Line Extension in North Carolina.
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