On November 18 the US Congress finally approved the federal transport budget for the 2006 financial year which began on October 1. The bill provides $8·59bn for public transport, 12·3% up on 2005, including $1·34bn for fixed guideways and $1·5bn for the New Starts programme. Amtrak has been allocated $1·31bn, but its operating subsidy is capped at $495m.

CAPTION: Test running began on the 89 km Nürnberg - Ingolstadt Neubaustrecke in early December, with DB’s ICE-S test train attaining 330 km/h. The line will open in May, ready for the 2006 football World Cup, cutting the Nürnberg - München journey time by one third to just over 1 hPhoto:R R Rossberg

Following the completion of public consultation over proposals for the TGV Provence-Alpes-C