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Eno Transportation Weekly

Category: Railroads

The FY20 Budget: Transportation Security

March 20, 2019 – The President’s fiscal year 2020 budget request for the Department of Homeland Security includes proposals for a small cut in Transportation Security Administration operational funding, a large cut in Coast Guard procurement, and a two-thirds cut in Federal Emergency Management Agency transportation security grants.

Amtrak Requests $141 Million Cut in Its Own Budget

March 21, 2019 – Amtrak sent its fiscal 2020 budget request to Congress yesterday and asked for $141 million less than Congress actually appropriated for fiscal year 2019. The 2020 request of $1.80 billion is the amount authorized by Congress in the FAST Act of 2015, but Congressional appropriations for Amtrak and other railroad programs in 2018 and 2019 have exceeded the authorized amounts significantly.

The FY20 Budget: Transportation Tax and Fee Assumptions

March 19, 2019 – In the full fiscal year 2020 federal budget request released this week, the assumptions for the tax receipts of transportation excise taxes over the next decade made by the White House Office of Management and Budget are significantly above the estimates for those taxes made by the Congressional Budget Office. And the Administration once again boosts its overall receipt totals by requesting new transportation user fees that Congress is  unlikely to approve.

Schumer Will Seek To Force Gateway Funding in Next “Must-Pass” Spending Bill

March 8, 2019 – This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told an Association for Better New York breakfast meeting that he wants to attach legislation forcing the federal government to start funding a $13.6 billion project to build new passenger rail tunnels under the Hudson River to the next “must-pass” spending bill. But it’s hard to see Schumer getting what he wants without either violating Congress’s ban on earmarks, or else fundamentally restructuring the mass transit Capital Investment Grant program.

California HSR Authority Responds to FRA Attempt to Cancel Their Grant

March 8, 2019 – On March 4, the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) issued a formal response to the Federal Railroad Administration’s February 19 notice that it intended to cancel the $929 million grant of fiscal year 2010 appropriations promised by the Obama Administration for the Golden State’s troubled high-speed rail project.

Capitol Hill Events – Week of March 11, 2019

Tuesday, March 12 – House Transportation and Infrastructure – Subcommittee on Aviation – subcommittee hearing entitled “Looking Forward: Aviation 2050” (witness list here) – 10:00 a.m., HVC-210 The Capitol.

Grassley, Wyden Push Railroad, Alternative Fuel Tax Break Extensions

March 1, 2019 – Yesterday, the chairman and ranking Democrat of the Senate Finance Committee, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), jointly introduced legislation that would provide temporary extensions of numerous targeted tax breaks that expired at the end of 2017 or 2018.

Calif. Governor Scales Back Commitment to Statewide High Speed Rail

February 12, 2019 – Earlier today, new new governor of California, Gavin Newsom (D), told state legislators in his first “State of the State” address that he was backing away from plans to build a high speed rail project that would connect San Francisco and Los Angeles, but that he would finish the segment of the project currently underway in the central part of the state.

House Passes Scenic Byways, Route 66 Centennial, FRA Inspection Notification Bills

February 8, 2019 – On February 6, the U.S. House of Representatives passed five bills from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Three of the five bills were significant for the transportation sector as they would improve oversight of rail safety, protect scenic byways, and establish a commission to commemorate Route 66.

All Railroads With PTC Requirements Claim to Meet Dec. 31 Deadline

January 3, 2019 – All 41 railroads with positive train control (PTC) requirements submitted by Dec. 31, 2018 documentation claiming they fully implemented PTC or else qualified for an “alternative schedule,” the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced on New Year’s Eve.

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