Senate Panel Backs $1.2B for High-Speed Rail, $1.2B Extra for Highways

The Senate panel in charge of transportation spending has just released its version of the budget bill that passed the House last week, giving less to high-speed rail and more to highways than the lower chamber of Congress.

Senate’s transportation bill, shepherded by senior appropriator Patty
Murray (D-WA), provides $1.2 billion for the Obama administration’s
high-speed rail initiative — $200 million more than the White House’s budget request, but significantly less than the $4 billion that the House set aside for that purpose.

by contrast, got $41.1 billion from the House but $1.4 billion extra
from the Senate, for a total of $43.5 billion in spending. Transit
would get $480 million more than the White House requested, along with
a $150 million infusion for the cash-strapped D.C. Metro system.

Senators matched their House counterparts on funding for the administration’s inter-agency "livable communities" project,
which is aimed at encouraging transit-oriented development. And the
Senate outdid the House on rail safety, providing the $50 million in
grants for technology upgrades that was sought by two senior Democrats after the D.C. Metro crashed  last month.

Senate’s total spending on both transportation and housing for 2010:
$122 billion. The bill released today is expected to be merged with the
House product sometime in the fall before heading to the president’s