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COMMUNITY TRANSPORTATION CHOICES
The Clinton-Gore Administration is proposing a record $9.1 billion to help
ease traffic congestion and reduce pollution a $1.1 billion increase
over last years funding level. This item includes $6.3 billion for mass
transit, $1.6 billion for congestion relief and air quality improvement, $719
million for community transportation enhancements, $468 million for an Expanded
Passenger Rail Fund, and $52 million for a Transportation and Community and
System Preservation pilot program. The funding will reduce traffic congestion
and improve air quality by enhancing transit services and supporting other transportation
alternatives, such as high-occupancy vehicle lanes, ridesharing, bicycle and
pedestrian paths, and cleaner fuels fleets. The funding will also promote more
sustainable community development by encouraging states and localities to coordinate
land use plans and transportation alternatives.
As communities grow further out and commuting distances increase, more and
more Americans find themselves sitting in traffic when they'd rather be home
with their families. By one estimate, Americans waste half a billion hours a
year struck in traffic. DOT calculates that 41 percent of peak-hour travel time
is under congested conditions.
On June 9, 1998, President Clinton signed the Transportation Equity Act for
the 21st Century (TEA-21). At the Administration's urging, this historic legislation
continues to provide communities the flexibility to transfer funds from highway
construction to public transit, and provides significant funding increases for
several programs to help communities and commuters overcome traffic congestion.
To aggressively implement these transportation priorities, the President's FY
2001 budget proposes:
$6.3 billion for public transit, which will be used to maintain and expand
the nation's access to transit systems, helping communities provide a range
of efficient public transportation choices that will alleviate traffic congestion.
Inclusive transportation planning processes encourage states and communities
to reach consensus on what makes sense for each community. The proposed funding
represents a $536 million increase over the FY 2000 funding level.
$1.6 billion for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program,
which supports state and local efforts to simultaneously ease congestion and
reduce air pollution in areas not meeting or working to stay in compliance with
federal air quality standards. Eligible projects include high-occupancy-vehicle
lanes, incentives for ridesharing, improved transit facilities, systems to monitor
traffic and quickly clear disabled vehicles, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and
conversion of public and private fleets to cleaner fuels. The proposed funding
represents a $48 million increase over the FY 2000 funding level.
$719 million for the Transportation Enhancements Program, which supports projects
such as renovation of historic rail stations, creation of bicycle and pedestrian
paths, facilities, safety education, and scenic beautification. The proposed
funding represents a $34 million increase over the FY 2000 funding level.
$468 million for the Expanded Passenger Rail Fund, which supports the continued
development of a vibrant passenger rail system in this country. The fund would
be administered by the Secretary of Transportation and funds would be allocated
to Amtrak and to the States. Under this program, Amtrak would be required to
partner with States on rail corridor improvements. Eligible capital projects
include acquisition of equipment and construction of infrastructure improvements,
including acquisition of rights-of-way.
$52 million for the Transportation and Community and System Preservation Pilot,
which provides grants to state and local governments and planning agencies to
coordinate transportation and land use planning while at the same time reducing
environmental impacts and ensuring efficient access to jobs, services and centers
of trade. The proposed funding represents a $17 million increase over the FY
2000 funding level.