VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE ANNOUNCES
ADMINISTRATION WILL SEEK $211 MILLION
FOR NEW TRANSIT SYSTEM WORK IN 12 URBAN REGIONS
Details Administration's Livable Communities Initiative
Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore announced today the
Administration will seek $211 million for new transit system work in 12
urban regions as part of its $9.3 billion Livable Communities budget
proposal for FY 2001.
The Vice President and Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater
said the Department of Transportation will seek to enter into major
transit grant agreements this year in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Chicago,
northern Illinois, Denver, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, northern New
Jersey, Portland, Ore., Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Washington
D.C.-Maryland (chart attached).
"Investing in important mass transit projects like these is key to
rebuilding our cities and creating livable communities, "it will
stimulate economic development throughout our nation," the Vice
President said. "For hardworking Americans, who live in our metropolitan
areas, the payoff is in a better quality of life."
The proposed transit funding is part of the Administration's $9.3
billion Livable Communities Initiative. For fiscal year 2001
appropriations, the Vice President said the budget will request $9.1
billion for transportation systems, $25 million for regional smart
growth efforts, and $125 million to fund crime solving technologies to
improve community safety. The initiative also includes a tax credit
proposal calling for $10.75 billion in bonding authority over five years
for Better America Bonds. The proposed funding for the Livable
Communities initiative represents a 14 percent increase over last year.
"These budget proposals expand the choices available to communities
in ways that will improve our quality of life while ensuring that we
maintain our strong economic growth," the Vice President said.
"In his State of the Union message, President Clinton asked for a
renewed commitment to make our communities more livable," Secretary
Slater said. "Investments in transportation infrastructure do just that
for these communities by providing access to the bounty of jobs,
markets, schools, and great opportunities that are so representative of
The Vice President said that the Administration's fiscal year 2001
budget for the Livable Communities initiative includes:
Community Transportation Choices. The budget submission will
include a record $9.1 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation
to help ease traffic congestion and reduce pollution - a $1.1 billion
increase over last year's 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.
Better America Bonds. The President's budget will propose $10.75
billion in bonding authority over five years for Better America Bonds -
more than a $1 billion increase over last year's proposal. Under the
proposal, the Environmental Protection Agency, in consultation with
other agencies and based on competitive applications, would authorize
state, local and tribal governments to allocate $2.15 billion in annual
bond authority in FY 2001 to preserve green space, create or restore
urban parks, protect water quality, and clean up brownfields. The tax
credit bonds mature in 15 years and the Federal Government would provide
tax credits in lieu of interest payments to bondholders, making the
bonds interest free for local communities. The tax credits will total
almost $700 million over five years.
Regional Connections Initiative. The budget will include $25
million to fund the Department of Housing and Urban Development's
proposed Regional Connections Initiative. The program will promote
regional "smart growth" strategies and complement the Administration's
other regional efforts. Regional Connections matching grants will help
local partnerships design and pursue smarter growth strategies across
jurisdictional lines. Legislation to authorize this program has been
introduced in Congress.
Crime Solving Technologies to Improve Community Safety. The budget
includes $125 million to fund state and local grants through the
Department of Justice for crime-solving technologies to improve public
safety. These programs will upgrade and computerize State and local
criminal history records, improve crime laboratories, and reduce DNA
"Regardless of where we Americans live or where we stand on the
economic scale, one thing that unites us is our desire for a high
quality of life, safe communities, healthy open spaces, and reduced
congestion," the Vice President said. "This budget proposal is about
building stronger communities."
The budget proposals announced today are part of the
Administration's Livable Communities Initiative that integrates the
commitments of more than a dozen Federal agencies. The initiative also
supplements the various programs that make up the Administration's
Community Empowerment Agenda, which is designed to encourage
reinvestment in existing communities and provide greater opportunity for
As part of last year's livability budget, the Administration
requested an additional $1.3 billion in appropriations. Of this,
Congress enacted more than $600 million, primarily for transportation.
Under full funding grant agreements, federal funding for these transit
projects would be provided in the coming years as construction goes
forward. Historically, the substantial majority of full funding grant
agreements have received a contribution of between 33 and 80 percent of
their total cost from the federal government. A determination of the
federal commitment is subject to negotiation between the U.S. Department
of Transportation and the sponsors of the project. The full funding
grants agreements would assist the following:
Maryland Mass Transit Administration with construction of double
track for the Baltimore Central Corridor Light Rail Line. Estimated
total cost, $153.7 million. President's fiscal 2001 budget proposal,
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in completing construction of
about 6.6 miles of the Douglas Branch of the CTA's Blue Line.
Estimated total cost, $450 million. President's fiscal 2001
budget proposal, $17 million.
Metra, the commuter rail division of the Regional Transportation
Authority of northeastern Illinois, with the design and construction
of the Southwest Corridor extension. Estimated total cost, $165.4
million. President's fiscal 2001 budget proposal, $10 million.
Denver Regional Transportation District and Colorado
Department of transportation with the design and construction of
Denver's proposed Southeast Corridor project. Estimated total cost:
$882.5 million. President's fiscal 2001 budget proposal: $20 million.
Memphis Area Transit Authority with the design and construction of
the Memphis Medical Center rail extension. Estimated total cost: $69.1
million. President's fiscal 2001 budget proposal, $14.2 million.
Metro Transit in Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Minnesota Department
of Transportation with the design and construction of a proposed 11.5
mile light rail transit along the Hiawatha Avenue corridor. Estimated
total cost: $548.6 million. President's fiscal 2001 budget proposal,
New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJT) with the design and
construction of the Hudson-Bergen Waterfront Light Rail Transit System
Minimum Operable Segment-2, a part of the New Jersey Urban Core Project.
Estimated total cost: $1.1 billion.
Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAT) with Stage II of the
Pittsburgh light rail transit project. Estimated total cost: $383.7
million. President's fiscal 2001 budget proposal, $20 million.
Tri-County Metropolitan District of Oregon
with the design and construction of the Portland Interstate MAX light
rail extension. Estimated total cost: $350 million. President's fiscal
2001 budget proposal, $40 million.
Utah Transit Authority implement and operate its proposed light
rail transit service. Estimated total cost: $105.8 million.
President's fiscal 2001 budget proposal, $15 million.
Sound Transit with the planning, design and
construction of the Seattle Central Link light rail line. Estimated
total cost: $1.5 billion. President's fiscal 2001 budget proposal, $35
Washington (D.C.) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
with the design and construction of the Largo (Md.) Metrorail extension.
Estimated total cost: $433.9 million. President?s fiscal 2001 budget
proposal, $10 million.
A full funding grant agreement is the federal government's commitment to
support a transit project over the course of several fiscal years,
contingent upon the availability of funds.