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Federal budget includes USD 4.45bn for transit

The planned Lynwood light rail extension in Seattle. (Sound Transit

The planned Lynwood light rail extension in Seattle. (Sound Transit

The US Department of Transportation is requesting USD 4.45bn to be allocated 18 transit projects in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. This is the first step in the federal budget process that needs Congressional approval before Full Funding Agreements (FFA) can be executed. Amongst the nine projects recommended to receive funding for the first time is USD 350M for the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line rapid transit extension. Five projects that were given partial funding in previous budgets are also included:

USD 500M for BART Silicon Valley extension phase II in San Jose;

USD 167M for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Phase I in Los Angeles;

USD 28.8M for the Rochester Bus Rapid Transit Project;

USD 700M for the planned Hudson Tunnel Project linking New Yor and New Jersey;

USD 496.8M for the proposed Second Avenue Subway Phase II in New York.

A third group of projects already having FFAs will see payments accelerated:

USD 165M for the Los Angeles Westside Subway Section 2 and USD 478M for Section 3;

USD 291.9M for the Minneapolis Southwest LRT;

USD 250.7M for the Seattle Lynwood Link LRT extension.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said, ‘Transit connects people to jobs, schools, loved ones and more. We are proud to deliver this funding to expand transit across the country, which will create good-paying construction jobs and provide better options for people to get where they need to go’.

A notable omission from the list of projects due to receive funding is Philadelphia’s 4-mile (6.4km) King of Prussia rapid transit branch from the Norristown line. A federal grant of 60% of the USD 3bn project cost was being sought, but it is understood the FTA has expressed concerns that SEPTA would have enough state and local funding to pay for its share of the cost. This has resulted in SEPTA halting all work on the project, including not awarding the USD 125M design contract approved in February 2023. SEPTA describes the decision as a pause. The project has proceeded in fits and starts for more than 20 years and at least USD 53M has been spent so far.