House and Senate conferees should set aside more money for transportation infrastructure spending than was included in either chamber’s version of the American Recovery and Investment Act, a North Carolina nonprofit group said today.
Ashley Chase of the N.C. Public Interest Research Group said the version passed in the Senate this week did not include an important House provision to develop new transit lines and systems.
“Full investment in transit and rail development is critical to the Congress’ stated goals of strengthening our communities, reducing traffic congestion and oil dependence,” Chase said in a press release.
• At least $8.4 billion for public transportation (Senate), $2.5 billion for New Start transit projects (House), and $2 billion for rail modernization (House) for a total of $13 billion in increased transit funding.
• A transportation enhancement program included in the House bill that will provide funding for ready-to-go bicycling and pedestrian projects which are among the most job intensive, shovel-ready construction projects there are.
• At least $2 billion provided in the Senate bill for high speed rail to create jobs that would reduce our dependence on carbon intensive transportation options.
• Additional criteria for highway spending in order to ensure that money goes to fund bridge and road repair construction jobs rather than new highways and highway expansion.
Meanwhile, here’s a comparison (from a Washington publication called Transportation Weekly) of North Carolina transportation funding provided in the House and Senate versions.
Highways: $729.9 million Senate, $802.3 million House.
Transit: $128 million Senate, $111.3 million House.
The two bills differ in many details about how the money could be spent.
Also, here are regular updates on the legislation by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.