During debate on the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1), Senator Bond is expected to offer two amendments to alter transportation funding in the stimulus package. One amendment will eliminate the new discretionary surface transportation grant program in the underlying bill. The other will strike the High Speed Rail Corridor program. On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to oppose these amendments.
The amendment to strike the discretionary surface transportation grant program (amendment number 169) will undermine an important effort in the underlying bill to fund intermodal and multimodal projects. Specifically, the new discretionary surface transportation grant program could fund regional and national highway, port, rail and transit projects. These grants will fund projects that will provide economic stimulus and create jobs in the short term as well as projects of critical national importance that will reap long-term benefits. While we agree with proponents of this amendment that more money is needed for highways, we do not believe the best way to accomplish this objective is take funds from other flexible accounts in this bill.
TTD also opposes Senator Bond’s amendment to eliminate the High Speed Rail Corridor Program (amendment number 162). This program will stimulate the economy while investing in this important and underutilized mode of transportation. High speed rail is critical if we are going to have a rail system that can complement other modes of transportation and provide customers with a service that is in high demand.
Again, I urge you to oppose the Bond amendments to eliminate the discretionary surface transportation grant program and strike the High Speed Rail Corridor program. If you have any questions about TTD’s position or need additional information, please contact me or Brendan Danaher at 202/628-9262.