Commentary by Yoav Hagler

$5 B for HSR in Federal Budget Proposal

The US Department of Transportation would get $72.5 billion for fiscal 2010, a 3 percent increase over the previous year, as part of the Federal budget proposed by President Obama. This funding includes the establishment of a five year, $5 billion grant program to fund high-speed rail projects around the country. This funding is in addition to the $8 billion allocated for high-speed rail as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a press statement released by the USDOT, Secretary of Transportation LaHood commented, "This budget is a start toward setting the nation's transportation system on a sustainable path."

From DOT Press Release:

The budget proposal does provide a broad framework that commits funds for sustainable  solutions for surface transportation, explores options to make the nation's communities more livable through increased funding for public transit, supports development of a high speed rail network across the country and supports the Next Generation Air Transportation System to modernize the air traffic control system.

The budget also creates a national infrastructure bank with a funding commitment of $5 billion a year over the first five years.  Details on how the bank would operate were not released.