The House-Senate conference committee kept the Senate bill’s lower $8.4 billion transit funding level instead of the House’s $12 billion and cut the somewhat mysterious $5.5 billion transportation grants, but they also gave national high-speed rail an enormous boost to $9.3 billion.
Local transit is still going to suffer from painful budget cuts, as the stimulus doesn’t rescue plummeting state and local operating budgets. It also won’t fund many of the local transit improvements and repairs we badly need. And the $29 billion for roads means many states are going to add new freeways in remote, undeveloped areas despite Obama declaring the era of sprawl over. Still, this is a very pleasant and welcome surprise.