High-Speed Rail Funds Get Slashed in Detailed Budget Plan

Just when we thought transportation had gotten off relatively easy in the shutdown-aversion budget deal:

House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY). Image: ##http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2006/Harold-Rogers-Pork14may06.htm##Mindfully##

The House Appropriations Committee has released details [PDF] on the budget agreement between the two houses, including more information on the agreed-to $38.5 billion in cuts. Where we’d heard before that high-speed rail was getting a $1.5 billion haircut, down to the $1 billion for 2011 that President Obama had originally requested, it turns out now that that last billion dollars is being cut too. And to add insult to injury, they’re also zeroing out $400 million of rejected Florida rail funds (technically cutting funding from 2010), bringing the grand total of HSR cuts to $2.9 billion.

This is a big blow to one of the president’s signature projects, with which he was planning on “winning the future.” It further clouds the outlook for his $53 billion proposal for high-speed rail over the next six years, starting in 2012. These budget cuts, of course, are for FY2011, before the $53 billion was to start, but please believe the Republicans aren’t looking for a massive increase in rail money for next year either.

TIGER, which had appeared to be safe, is getting $72 million cut from its $600 million budget, and the Appropriations Committee eliminated all funding for “planning, preparation or design” of projects eligible for TIGER funding. For now, the Partnership for Sustainable Communities appears to be safe.

Meanwhile, New Starts transit funding, already slated for $280 million in cuts, is now getting $502 million cut from its $2 billion budget, with another $128 million coming out of Amtrak grants for capital improvements and debt service. They’ve also cut $3.1 billion in highway contract authority that had not been obligated, as opposed to the $2.5 billion cut announced Friday night.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

GOP Appropriations Bill Would Turn TIGER Into a Roads Program

|
As the president’s transportation proposal fades from the news cycle and we eagerly await the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s six-year reauthorization bill, here comes the House Republicans’ proposed budget for transportation and housing for next year. Note: What the House GOP released yesterday wasn’t an authorization bill but an appropriations bill for 2015. […]

Senate Saves a Sliver For High-Speed Rail

|
President Obama had sought $8 billion for high-speed rail in 2012. The House-passed budget had exactly zero. The Senate bill approved by the Transportation subcommittee Tuesday followed suit. But the full Appropriations Committee yesterday put $100 million back into next year’s budget for the president’s signature transportation initiative. That’s still starvation wages for the program, […]

Another Slanted High-Speed Rail Story From Anderson Cooper

|
Not one to back away from a terrible argument, CNN’s Anderson Cooper is sticking with his series exposing the “boondoggle” of federal high-speed rail funding. In a segment aired Monday night, he and reporter Drew Griffin hammered away yet again at their argument that high-speed rail has been a waste of money. Under the tagline […]