Here’s the update provided yesterday by Metro’s government relations team. Keep in mind this concerns next year’s federal budget — not to be confused with the multi-year transportation spending bill that is currently being written/debated/slapped together by Congress.
One FYI: the New Starts program helps fund large transit projects around the country. Metro is seeking New Starts money for the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector projects.
Earlier today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing considered and adopted its Fiscal Year 2012 spending bill. The Senate bill, like the House version of this bill, does not provide any funding for High Speed Rail. The bill adopted today does provide $1.9 billion for the federal New Starts program, which is $400 million above the amount appropriated by the House. Because of a general prohibition against earmarks, no specific rail projects were cited in the bill adopted today. In contrast with the House transportation spending bill, the Senate measure includes $550 million for TIGER discretionary grants. California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) serves as a member of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and the subcommittee is chaired by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). It is expected that the full Senate Committee on Appropriations will consider and adopt the Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill tomorrow.