In Obama Budget, a Glimpse of What Beefed-Up Transit Funding Could Do

Nashville BRT is among the transit upgrades in line for funding in 2015. Image: Nashville Public Radio

The budget proposal released by President Obama yesterday fleshes out the transportation ideas put out by the White House last week and includes specific grants for transit upgrades and expansions in 2015, but many of them won’t be part of this budget unless Congress agrees to increase funding for transportation.

The White House budget proposes $17.6 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, an increase of about $7 billion from current levels. This would give transit agencies significantly more resources to rehab existing infrastructure and build rail and bus expansions.

Most of the additional funding — more than $5 billion — would come in the form of bigger distributions to transit agencies by formula. On top of that, money for transit expansion projects would grow by more than $500 million, a new $500 million program would help fund bus rapid transit projects, and $500 million would be set aside for “a new competitive grant program that will encourage innovative solutions to our most pressing transportation challenges.”

Enacting these changes is unlikely, because Obama will have to win Congressional support for funding transportation with corporate tax reform. But a look at the FTA budget provides a sense of how much more can be done for transit each year, given new resources.

The increased funding for transit expansion would go toward light rail in Baltimore, an extension of Boston’s Green Line, and commuter rail in Orlando, among other projects. Portland’s Columbia River Crossing — the sprawl bridge/light rail project that apparently just won’t die — is also on the list.

A round of smaller grants that also need Congressional approval would fund bus rapid transit projects in Nashville, Oakland, El Paso, Eugene, and Vancouver, as well as $50 million to advance Fort Lauderdale’s streetcar plans.

Image: White House
These transit expansion grants may not happen unless Congress enacts a proposal to increase transportation funding. Image: White House

In a legislative alert, LA Metro CEO Arthur Leahy said the investments in the system “would represent a tripling of the amount of New Starts funding we have, on average, received over the past three decades.”

Transit expansion grants that have already been approved by Congress and will be proceeding with or without the funding boost include light rail in Honolulu, the Hartford-New Britain busway, and the Central Corridor light rail line in the Twin Cities.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters in a conference call yesterday that because of American demographic shifts, the Obama administration believes “transit access is going to become increasingly important as a way of moving people.”

Foxx said the White House proposal would actually maintain the formula that provides four dollars of gas tax revenue to state DOTs for every dollar that goes to transit. But the overall transit/highway split would shift in the Obama proposal, because transit would receive a larger share of revenue derived from tax reform.

  • Katja

    I’m not certain that the US Congress can do anything about transit funding in Vancouver. Unless it’s some Vancouver other than the one in British Columbia?

    Also, I thought the Columbia River Crossing was bad for transit, and we were all happy when it got canceled. Did something change?

  • *Arthur Leahy

  • Vancouver, Washington is across from Portland, Oregon on the Columbia River. It’s what the Columbia River Crossing would connect to.

  • James

    It’s insane that we’re ‘debating’ funding for BRT! Really?! This is something that the Colombians, Brazilians and Argentines have been doing for years. And the wealthiest nation on Earth can barely fund tiny BRT systems with crummy headways, let alone fund rail?!

  • Tammi Diaz

    Please do not give Utah Transit Authority anymore Federal Tax Dollars.

    There needs to be a Full Investigation into Utah Transit Authority.

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    Black Obama, dark magic, jewels and the mysterious backstage power
    Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama usually wear strangely originated jewelries and cultic symbols with high

    enthusiasm.
    They usually wear these jewels on official photos of the First Family and on informal events as well.
    They wear the God Hanuman as an amulet, who holds a Trisul in his hand. Hanuman cut down the head of god

    Ganesa’s (God of abundance) with this weapon, that’s why it is a head of an elephant on its place.
    The trishul is a trident, like the figure in Obama’s hand holds in it’s left hand.
    In mythology it’s not a good symbol anyway. The religious and ideological background represented by the jewels

    is hard to understand for the first time, but gather the facts we can we draw some very interesting

    consequences.

    Nowadays Barack Hussein Obama Jr.’s religious identity is very controversial.
    The President lived 4 years in Indonesia, Jakarta during his childhood, where beside elementary school he met

    the Koran as the part of children education.

    President Obama does not go to church, neither his family. Although he says he is a true Christian and he prays

    in every morning and every evening.
    He never stated that to which Confession he belongs, however he attended in numerous confession’s church.
    His father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr. was a Musulman, born in Kenya, Africa, so along the rules of the Islam

    Obama Jr. is a Musulman too.
    Obama says he has a Christian faith, but the religions doesn’t play serious role in his life.
    He always mentioned this state during the election campaign.
    Formally he is a member of the United Church of Christ Confession, but he never attends to worship and doesn’t

    participate in the church life
    .
    In the presidential election he had effect on the liberal atheists, but he used symbols of several Churches as a

    campaign element, which seem to occur accidentally, but it is communicated consciously, as a planned profile.
    The religious Confessions kept distance from him during the whole campaign.
    The religious Jews and the conservative Christians are very untrustful with him.

    His secret Faith for Islam and Israels’s not full support are arguments often put forward.
    It is sure, that from all of the religions he knows the Islam the best. The Islam is present in his family (his

    father, stepfather and their relative are musulmans) very strong, he was educated in Indonesian Islamic school

    for several years
    There are many proofs of his knowledge of Islam, most of them occur on his official visit and speeches in

    Islamic countries.
    There is a special feeling or reference in these speeches, – some kind of „I am one of you”- feeling, that gains

    the trust of Islamic audience… He often uses special phrases, that are well heard is Islamic ideology, and the

    audience like it. (They not just simply understand it, they can feel the real meaning of the speech)

    From all of the religious Confession, the Islamic had positive feedback.
    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare seems to be supported by the musulmans. Not for

    nothing…
    Decreasing the population of Christian people with abortion and contraceptive can cause serious changes in the

    percentage religious divisions in a few decades.
    Obama’s program does not Christian at all, and seems that the only supporters are the musulmans.
    He needed time to show his real face. He kept his religion secret, but with his steps he left no doubt about it:

    he does not believe in Christian teachings, nevertheless: he wants to dilute the Christian bloodline.

    „The American Chatolic Chruch started a two week long protesting action againts the Obamacare ( reducing the

    price of artificial birth control), because some elements of the draft proposal are seriously harm the freedom

    of religion, some religious leaders said. This measure causes serious reduction in population of the traditional

    american christian society within the next 20 years, meanwhile the musulman population is increasing

    permanently.”

    President Obama gained a huge overpower in the American state structure.
    All of these are affordable for him in the logic of power. At the same time most of the presidents haven’t

    reached that level of power, where the inside decision-making system of the US can be changed by only with head

    officers, because the House of Representatives and the Senate are still exist.
    To make these kinds of changes there has to be a huge and concentrated power. In the structure of the US

    decision making system there isn’t such enough power like Obama needed for it, the system of check and balances

    keeps the balance of power.

    In case of President Obama we can assume, that he mostly have some kind of hidden or secret power, because for

    his political acts there has to be much more power, than he seems to have.
    He has a relation with a secta that handles a 1 billion dollars fortune, which can be an explanation for this

    huge overpower.
    His decisions fit in the ideology of this secta, which destroys religions step by step, and from thier pieces it

    builds a new, authoritarian and theocratic system.
    This secta is known as Subud by the public, all over the world.

    „The african-american Obama suffered several harms during the presidential campaign because of his descent and

    his religion.
    It spreads since a very long time on conservative blogs, that his has islamic religion, he took his oath on the

    Koran instead of the Holy Bible, nevertheless he was educated in a radical Islamic school in Indonesia.”

    The SUBUD itself is the shame of the ortodox Islam in Indonesia, which has the most muslim residents in the

    word, but it is not more than a mask.

    Wearing rings and jewelry are very popular among the members of the Subud. The members of the secta usually wear

    typical jewels, which they believe have magical power.
    The high ranked leaders of Subud are wearing very simple clothes, but to increase their authority within the

    Subud they also wear expensive jewels. They attach huge power them.

    The secta Subud is a special mixture of Java mysticism, magic and the Dharma (originated from India), which is

    controlled from above, by a theocratic, authoritarian system: The teaching can be interpreted only by the main

    leader. The Dharma is about the circulation of our world, where the destruction is a natural part of the system,

    so that is why Shiva can be one of the most important, central God in their religion.
    The Secta is based on ordered relationship hierarchy.
    The secta is led by a very little group of leaders, who hold the most of the economical power of the Subud.
    For an example, they new HQ of the Subud was planned to be built in Jakarta. It would have a special „boat”

    shape with a huge chimney.

  • Eric Mathiasen

    Google also has this delightful feature called Google Maps.

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