Amtrak and Federal transportation budget situation

Here is an update on how Amtrak is faring under the $1.1 Trillion Budget that is headed for President Obama’ desk:

Transportation

Overall funding for transportation programs would remain largely flat. The Transportation Department would get $17.8 billion in discretionary money, equal to last year’s total, but $4.8 billion below the White House’s request. Highway funding would stay at its annual authorized level of almost $41 billion, transit funding at $8.6 billion. The Federal Transit Administration’s budget would grow almost 7 percent to $2.3 billion.

However, the popular TIGER (short for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program would be cut from $600 million to $500 million, less than the Senate Appropriations Committee had wanted but far more than the $100 million than the House had approved in its version of the bill earlier in the year.

Federal subsidies for Amtrak operating expenses would also be sliced from $340 million to $250 million. The passenger railroad last month reported that it had not needed all of its 2014 appropriation to cover losses, as revenue hit a record and expenses were kept in check. But the agreement reverses a House bid to cut funding for Amtrak’s capital budget and debt service by almost 20 percent. Instead, that account would grow some 9 percent to $1.14 billion.

As was true in 2014, the bill contains no money for high-speed rail projects, but the deal also rejects an attempt by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) to suspend the use of previously allocated federal funds for California’s planned bullet train system.