New House majority leader promises to block Calif. railway funding

By Keith Laing : thehill – excerpt

Newly installed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised on Monday that he would “do all that I can to ensure not one dollar of federal funding goes to boondoggles like [California’s] high-speed rail.”

McCarthy and other Republicans in Washington and California have long been opposed to the controversial California high-speed rail project, which has received more than $3 billion from the Obama administration since 2009.

But McCarthy was recently elevated to the No. 2 position in the House Republican caucus following the defeat of former GOP Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in his bid for re-election earlier this year.. (more)

Bike advocates concerned over Toomey’s proposal to cut funding

abc27news – excerpt

HARRISBURG – A proposal by U.S. Senator Pat Toomey to eliminate funding for crosswalks, bike paths and safety routes to save money for road and bridge repairs has local advocates concerned that corners will be cut – literally.

Steve Doster of Pennsylvania Mission Readiness said the people who enjoy paths such as the Capital Area Greenbelt may not be able to without the federal funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program. He said 12 percent of all Pennsylvania commuters are powered by cardio.

“In my mind, that makes walking and bicycling a legitimate form of transportation,” Doster said.

Doster and others around Harrisburg are scratching their heads over Toomey’s proposal to eliminate TAP funding. Congress is scrambling to extend MAP-21 and the Highway Trust Fund as well as pass a new Federal Transportation Bill.

The funding is set to expire this fall and experts believe money could run dry by December.

Toomey wants to reserve federal funding for national infrastructure and says that the money should be spent on roads and bridges…

ABC27 will seek to ask Toomey if he supports a proposal by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) to raise the nation’s gas tax 12 cents, another key issue of the Federal Transportation Bill…  (more)

Senate panel to mark up highway funding stopgap

thehill – excerpt

The Senate Finance Committee will mark up a short-term fix to keep highway projects funded until after the midterm elections on Thursday.

Transportation advocates have expressed disappointment in the temporary measure because they have been pushing for a long-term bill that would fund U.S. road and transit projects for several years.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has said that he can only muster $9 billion from other areas of the federal budget to carry infrastructure funding until Dec. 31, which would punt the larger funding decision until the lame-duck session after the elections.

Wyden has called his three-month plan an “imperative first step” toward a long-term solution… (more)



Feds to resume sending transit money to Calif


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Under a carefully orchestrated deal, California would again receive billions of dollars of mass transit funds that the federal government was withholding amid a dispute over cuts to public employee pension benefits.
As a result, transportation systems across the state no longer face service cuts and the prospect of abandoning planned light rail, subway and other construction projects.
The deal, announced Wednesday by the state’s top Democrats as part of new legislation, temporarily exempts workers at public transit agencies from a 2012 California law that required public employees to contribute more to their retirement funds… (more)


Muni expects $942 million in Central Subway funding

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni’s controversial $1.6 billion Central Subway project is poised to receive a long-awaited $942 million federal grant today, a move that will finally secure full funding for construction…
However, the project has attracted criticism for its ballooning costs — original estimates grew from $647 million to $1.6 billion — and its annual burden on Muni’s already-strained operating budget. Former Board of Supervisors presidents Quentin Kopp and Aaron Peskin have come out against the plan, and a local activist group called Save Muni has consistently attacked the Central Subway as an unnecessary spending boondoggle.
“We’ve always felt that the SFMTA’s grant application has been based on falsified numbers that inflate the importance of the project,” said Howard Wong, a spokesman for Save Muni. “The Central Subway will ultimately end up degrading the rest of the Muni system.”
While the project has finally secured its funding sources, it still faces legal hurdles. Lawsuits have been filed against the project’s construction plans in North Beach and Union Square, the latter submitted by Save Muni on Wednesday. The City Attorney’s Office has stated that the SFMTA acted legally in both matters… (more)