Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stimulus Package and Mass Transit

Today, the Senate passed their version of the stimulus bill. Since the same legislation must be approved by both Houses of Congress, we now await Conference Committee to hammer through the differences between the Senate and House versions. Then, the two houses will have to vote and approve the same bill prior to President Obama's final signature.

The Transport Politic prepared the below comparison chart which details the two house's versions which is reconstructed below. For more discussion, go to Transit in the Stimulus Package.

Within the mass transit aggregate, there are some 'winners' and 'losers' in the two version. For high speed rail, it appears the Senate version will provide a more friendly environment for the surging high speed rail discussions. Although only a fraction of the total stimulus package (mass transit will not get much more than 1% of the total spend), $2bn for high speed rail could throw 'fuel to the fire' in promoting high speed rail investments around the country. Pending the final package, there appears to also be some 'wiggle room' for the states to determine the allocation of the transportation spending between building roads and building public transit. This could go a long way in stabilizing state/local projects which might otherwise be compromised in the face of tight budgets during a recession. To let these projects fail and not bring forth even bolder strategies for mass transit will be a failure in many aspects. Failures we might not realize until we hit the next economic crisis, oil shortage, national security breach or all of the above. We must invest now in the next generation of moving people. This is no George Jetson transportation system, this is a real solution which is being successfully utilized throughout the world. It is widely discussed how Germany, France and Japan have used high speed rail for decades however we're now seeing countries like Sweden move ahead and Turkey is scheduled to open a high speed rail line in March.

Join our movement in bringing high speed rail to America!

Email us at highspeedrail@powvtransit.com or visit our website at http://www.powvtransit.com/ to become a member of our growing movement...

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