US PRESIDENT George W Bush has put forward a 7·8% increase in public transport funding in his proposed budget for the 2002 financial year, unveiled on April 9. The federal transit programme would receive $6·7bn, whilst the allocation for the Federal Highway Administration would be cut by $1bn. Amtrak would receive a subsidy of $521m.

The allocation for capital investment is $2·84bn, which is 7·4% more than the amount actually appropriated in the 2001 financial year. Of this, $1·1bn is allowed for new start Full Funding Grant Agreements, up 7·2%, and a similar amount for fixed guideway modernisation, a jump of 7·6%.

Biggest beneficiaries would be New Jersey’s Hudson - Bergen light rail line ($151m), Florida’s Tri-Rail commuter rail upgrade ($85m), the BART Extension to SFO airport ($80m) and Portland’s Interstate MAX light rail extension ($80m). Denver would get $71m for its Southeast Corridor LRT, Dallas $71m for the North Central LRT extension, and San Diego $65m for the Mission Valley East line.

On the down side, Bush has proposed reducing the federal share of new fixed guideway starts and extensions from 80% to 50% from September 2003. That would force many projects to rely on more state and local funding. n