The amendment would have redistributed transit funding allocated in the formula-based High Density States Program to an entirely discretionary, nationwide Competitive Bus Grant program. If it remained in the bill, the seven densely populated states along the Boston-Washington Corridor would have collectively lost $1.6 billion in six years worth of funding. But luckily, Northeastern lawmakers were quick to fight the cut, restoring $100 million for New York, $50 million for New Jersey and $25 million for Connecticut.
Instead, the transportation bill will boost funding for the High Density States Program (also known as the 5340 Program) by an additional $18.5 million. The bill’s lifespan was also shortened from six years to five, maximizing potential investment in a shorter period.
When proposing the amendment, U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA) called for fairness in nationwide bus funding. And fair is fair: the revised transportation bill will now include $1.5 billion for the nationwide Competitive Bus Grant Program.
Congress has until this Friday to approve the bill to avoid a gap in funding transportation projects nationwide.