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(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced over $45 billion in job-creating transportation investments included in the Senate version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“Investing in our transportation goals is a proven way to help get Americans back to work and our economy back on track,” said Senator Murray. “State and local governments have already come forward with projects that will get their residents working and fix crumbling highways and bridges. This bill will help get money into their hands and will require them to spend it quickly and responsibly.”

Details of the transportation spending in the Senate American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009:

Highway Investments - $27 billion

  • The vast majority of this funding will be distributed as grants using a formula set in current highway authorization law.  The funding can be used on activities eligible under Federal-aid Highway Program’s Surface Transportation Program.  Eligible activities could also include rail and port infrastructure activities at the discretion of the states.  The grants will be provided in two parts: 
    • The first half of the funding will be provided to state governments, and must be obligated within 180 days of the grants’ distribution.  Any funds left unobligated by the states after 180 days will be reallocated by the Federal Highway Administration among the other states.  
    • The second half of the funding will be available for obligation for a full year from the date of enactment. Of that funding 20 percent will be distributed to states and 80 percent will be distributed to local governments.  Any unobligated balances remaining after one year will be transferred to the competitive grants program discussed below.
    • Taken together, roughly 60 percent of the formula funding provided for highway investments will be directed to states while 40 percent will be sub-allocated to local governments.

Competitive Grants for Surface Transportation Investments - $5.5 billion

  • This funding will be awarded as competitive grants to state and local governments for surface transportation investments.  The Secretary of Transportation must publish criteria on which to base the competition of funds within 75 days of the bill’s enactment.
  • Grants may be awarded to a many different kinds of surface transportation investments, including highway, transit, rail, or port infrastructure.
  •  The bill requires that projects must have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or a metropolitan area.   Priority in awarding grants will be given to projects that can be completed within three years.  In conducting the competition and awarding these grants, the Secretary is required to ensure an equitable geographic distribution of funds and an appropriate balance in addressing the needs of urban and rural communities. 
  • Grants for this funding will be made from two sources of funding: the $5.5 billion appropriated directly to the program, as well as any amounts transferred this account as a result of the “use-it-or-lose-it” provisions applied to the specific highway and transit formula grants.

Public Transportation Investments - $8.4 billion

  • This funding will be distributed by formula almost entirely to local areas using formulas set in current transit authorization law.  Eligible activities mirror those used for the existing FTA transit capital program.  As in the case of highway grants, these transit formula grants will be provided in two parts: 
    • The first half of the funding must be obligated within 180 days of their distribution, with any unobligated balances being redistributed among the other grantees. 
    • The second half of the funding must be obligated within one year of their distribution.  Any unobligated balances will be transferred to the competitive grants program discussed above.
  • Within the $8.4 billion for public transportation, the bill includes $200 million for grants to public transit agencies for capital investments that will reduce the energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions of their public transportation systems.

Aviation Investments -  $1.3 billion

The vast majority of this funding will be used for grants to airports for capital investments including airfield and facility improvements. Additional funding will be used for FAA facility and building repairs.

Railroad Investments - $3.1 billion

Significant railroad funding will go for grants to states for investments in high-speed rail corridors.  Additional funding will go to maintain, improve, or expand existing intercity passenger rail service and to address Amtrak’s substantial backlog of critical capital projects. 

Maritime Investments - $160 million

These grants will allow shipyards to make rapid capital improvements to make small domestic shipyards more competitive in the shipbuilding industry.  This funding will also be provided for grants to states for the construction of ferry transportation systems.