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Community Transportation Choices

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Council on Environmental Quality


The Clinton-Gore Administration is proposing a record $9.1 billion 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.

As communities grow further out and commuting distances increase, more and more Americans find themselves sitting in traffic when they'd rather be home with their families. By one estimate, Americans waste half a billion hours a year struck in traffic. DOT calculates that 41 percent of peak-hour travel time is under congested conditions.

On June 9, 1998, President Clinton signed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). At the Administration's urging, this historic legislation continues to provide communities the flexibility to transfer funds from highway construction to public transit, and provides significant funding increases for several programs to help communities and commuters overcome traffic congestion. To aggressively implement these transportation priorities, the President's FY 2001 budget proposes:

  • $6.3 billion for public transit, which will be used to maintain and expand the nation's access to transit systems, helping communities provide a range of efficient public transportation choices that will alleviate traffic congestion. Inclusive transportation planning processes encourage states and communities to reach consensus on what makes sense for each community. The proposed funding represents a $536 million increase over the FY 2000 funding level.
  • $1.6 billion for the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which supports state and local efforts to simultaneously ease congestion and reduce air pollution in areas not meeting or working to stay in compliance with federal air quality standards. Eligible projects include high-occupancy-vehicle lanes, incentives for ridesharing, improved transit facilities, systems to monitor traffic and quickly clear disabled vehicles, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and conversion of public and private fleets to cleaner fuels. The proposed funding represents a $48 million increase over the FY 2000 funding level.
  • $719 million for the Transportation Enhancements Program, which supports projects such as renovation of historic rail stations, creation of bicycle and pedestrian paths, facilities, safety education, and scenic beautification. The proposed funding represents a $34 million increase over the FY 2000 funding level.
  • $468 million for the Expanded Passenger Rail Fund, which supports the continued development of a vibrant passenger rail system in this country. The fund would be administered by the Secretary of Transportation and funds would be allocated to Amtrak and to the States. Under this program, Amtrak would be required to partner with States on rail corridor improvements. Eligible capital projects include acquisition of equipment and construction of infrastructure improvements, including acquisition of rights-of-way.
  • $52 million for the Transportation and Community and System Preservation Pilot, which provides grants to state and local governments and planning agencies to coordinate transportation and land use planning while at the same time reducing environmental impacts and ensuring efficient access to jobs, services and centers of trade. The proposed funding represents a $17 million increase over the FY 2000 funding level.

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