Progress on Omnibus Bill

They did it. The bill is now been released on the House Appropriation Web Site, which gives you a link to the House Rules site. The bill number is HR244. Division K is the section on the THUD. The comments in blue are my personal interpretation of the bill.  Overall this is something we can feel good about.

Here is a list of sections we care about:

TIGER GRANTS total of $500,000,000.

FRA Safety & Operations: $218,298,000 (32 new safety hires in 2016 annualized)

Railroad Research & Development $40,100,000. 

Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program (continues)

FEDERAL-STATE PARTNERSHIP FOR STATE OF GOOD REPAIR- $25,000,000. (Up to 1% may be held back by Secretary for project management and oversight. FRA is directed to consider the needs of the entire national rail network that meet eligibility requirements,

CONSOLIDATED RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE AND SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS GRANTS - $68,000,000. 25% must be spent in rural areas. Of the $68,000,000, $10,000,000 shall be for projects eligible that contribute to initiation or restoration of intercity passenger rail service.  Up to 1% can be withheld by Secretary for project management and oversight.

RESTORATION AND ENHANCEMENT GRANTS -$5,000,000. Secretary can withhold up to one percent for project management and oversight.

Note that all of the money for restoration in CRISI would likely go for the GULF Coast since that would be a restoration. The Separate restoration and enhancement grant money could be used for increased frequencies.

AMTRAK to submit a detailed congressional budget justification for FY2018 and directs the FRA to coordinate with Amtrak to complete a study on establishment of service to Airports that are adjacent to the mainline of the NEC no late than 60 days after enactment of this act and directs Amtrak to provide a report no later than 120 days after enactment comparing actual food and beverage saving for FY2016 with projections.

Note the only airport adjacent to the NEC that does not have a direct rail connection is Warwick, RI which is the main airport for Providence and the rest of Rhode Island. 

Note: Mica may be gone but the damage continues.

NEC CORRIDOR GRANTS $328,000,000 . Amtrak is projects a net operating “profit” of $397,400,000 on the NEC and this would yield a total funding level of $725,400,000 for the NEC. Amtrak can transfer funds between the NEC and NATIONAL NETWORK ACCOUNTS after reporting same to Congress along with justification. Secretary may retain up to 1/2 of 1 percent for oversight and project management. No less than $50,000,000 to be spent on compliance with ADA. Up to $5,000,000 to be spent to fund the NEC Commission expenses.

Note: presumably this “profit” is net after deductions for the debt servicing of the SPRINTER Electric Locomotives.

Note: Congress may have made a mistake since the ADA Improvements would be limited to the NEC.

NATIONAL NETWORK GRANTS of $1,167,000,000. Up to $2,000,000 to fund expenses of the state supported route committee. 

No provision for withholding for oversight.


CAPITAL INVESTMENT GRANTS $2,412,631,000 for fixed-guideway projects plus $117,839,000 in recaptured funds for fixed-guideway projects. Of the funds provided, $1,459,790,000 is available for new start projects with signed full funding grant agreements (FFGAs), $285,000,000 for new starts projects anticipated to enter into a signed FFGA in 2017, $100,000,000 for the signed core capacity project, $232,850,000 for projects anticipated to enter into a core capacity FFGA in 2017, $407,830,00 for small starts projects, $25,000,000 for oversight and $20,000,000 for an expedited project delivery pilot as authorized by the FAST Act.

WASHINGTON METRO -$150,000,000.

AMTRAK IG -$23,274,000.

Table at end has Amtrak receiving $105 million more than in FY2016. That does not including CRISI, STATE OF GOOD REPAIR nor RESTORATION/ENHANCEMENT GRANTS.