ON OCTOBER 6 the US Congress approved a total of $58bn in funding for the Department of Transportation during the 2001 fiscal year starting on October 1. The package includes $6·3bn for the federal transit programme, 8·2% more than last year in line with TEA 21 commitments. There will be around $1bn for new rail projects, and a similar amount for infrastructure modernisation.

Amongst the major rail projects due to receive federal funding are the Hudson- Bergen LRT in New Jersey ($121m), the BART extension to San Francisco International Airport ($80m), and the San Juan Tren Urbano in Puerto Rico ($75m). Dallas will get $70m for its North Central light rail extension, St Louis $60m for the St Clair MetroLink, Seattle $50m for the Central Link LRT and Minneapolis $50m for the Hiawatha corridor project. Sacramento will get $35m for its South line, and San Diego $31·5m for the Mission Valley East extension. Denver’s Southwest LRT gets $20m.

A further $50m is allocated for the planned extension of the Washington DC metro to Dulles Airport, and a similar amount for completing the Los Angeles Red line extension to North Hollywood which opened in June. Atlanta will receive $25m for the MARTA North line extension. Commuter rail allocations include $35m for Chicago’s Metra network, $15m for the Girdwood - Wasilla line in Alaska, and $15m for further double-tracking of the Florida Tri-Rail line through Fort Lauderdale.

Congressman Martin Sabo has negotiated an extra $60m of federal funds for the Hiawatha light rail line in Minneapolis. This will fund a city centre extension to 5th Street & 1st Avenue North and the purchase of 26 Bombardier LRVs instead of 22. Minnesota’s Department of Transportation signed a $291m design-and-build contract with the Minnesota Transit Constructors consortium on September 27.