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.

BeyondDC has a handy chart, as does The Transport Politic. The total transit funding represents about 40% of the total spending, a nice jump from the usual 20% federal allocation.

According to the AP via Transportation For America, President Obama and Harry Reid pushed for the HSR funding behind the scenes.

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.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.