Monday, February 9, 2009

Stimulus Plan: What Does it Mean for Transportation?

President Obama's stimulus plan has passed in the Senate, 61-36. With the hurdle of selling the bill to congress still before us, the topic I am most concerned about is transportation. The Senate Bill and the House bill differ on exact allocations of the funds for transportation projects and repairs, so I'm crossing my fingers that these projects don't get slashed from the bill in order to appeal to Congress. Perhaps the optimistic mentality should be to feel fortunate there are at least plans to improve our horribly inefficient transit systems in The United States.

Here is the basic plan (for now):
  • $850 million for Amtrak to achieve a state of good repair (Senate Version)
  • $2.25 billion for states to build and expand passenger rail (Senate)
  • $5.5 billion for a flexible surface transportation program for roads, rail and transit (Senate)
  • $12 billion for transit (House); $9 billion for transit (Senate)
For now these are just numbers and promises. Fortunately the Obama Administration is setting up, a website for Americans to watch exactly how this stimulus package is being spent. I am so glad they are doing this. What a shock it is to have a Presidential Administration we can trust and hold accountable for the promises they've made us.