H. R. 2163
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 29, 2009
Mr. Blumenauer (for himself, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Larson of Connecticut, and Mr. Klein of Florida) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
To authorize the Secretary of Transportation to make grants for certain streetcar projects, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Fast Starts Act of 2009.
Congress finds the following:
Communities around the United States have expended time and resources to utilize the Small Starts program under section 5309(e) of title 49, United States Code, for streetcar projects.
A delay in authorizing grants under the Small Starts program has created a backlog of streetcar projects requiring attention outside of that program.
Streetcar projects create jobs during both their construction and operation throughout the corridor in which the projects are developed.
Grants for certain streetcar projects
The Secretary of Transportation is authorized to make grants to States and local governmental authorities to assist the financing of streetcar projects in accordance with this section.
To be eligible for a grant under subsection (a), the State or local governmental authority applying for a grant shall submit to the Secretary, not later than March 1, 2010, an application certifying that the streetcar project to be assisted by such grant—
is supported by an acceptable degree of local financial commitment;
has met the environmental requirements necessary to begin construction; and
is a project with respect to which construction can begin not later than March 1, 2012.
The Secretary may make a grant under subsection (a) with respect to a streetcar project only if the Secretary finds that the project is—
based on the results of planning and alternatives analysis;
justified based on a review of its effect on local economic development, land use, travel patterns, and greenhouse gas reduction potential; and
supported by an acceptable degree of local financial commitment.
Planning and alternatives
In evaluating a project under paragraph (1)(A), the Secretary shall analyze and consider the results of planning and alternatives analysis for the project. For purposes of this paragraph, the Secretary shall compare the project to a no build analysis to consider project outcomes.
For purposes of making the finding under paragraph (1)(B), the Secretary shall determine—
the degree to which the project will have a positive effect on local economic development;
the reduction in per capita auto travel demand that will result from the completed project, including related development, travel pattern, and land use changes; and
the reduction in per capita greenhouse gas emissions that will result from the completed project, including related development, travel pattern, and land use changes.
Local financial commitment
For purposes of paragraph (1)(C), the Secretary shall require that each proposed local source of capital and operating financing is stable, reliable, and available within the timetable of the project.
With respect to a streetcar project for which a grant is made under subsection (a), the sum of the amounts of grants made under subsection (a) to assist such project may not exceed $60,000,000.
Relationship to other funding
A streetcar project for which a grant is made under subsection (a) is not prohibited from receiving assistance under any other Federal program.
The Federal share of the cost of a streetcar project, or portion of a streetcar project, for which a grant is made under subsection (a) shall be 100 percent.
Streetcar project defined
In this section, the term streetcar project means a new fixed guideway capital project that is electricity and rail based.
In this section, the definitions contained in sections 5302 and 5309 of title 49, United States Code, apply.
Authorization of appropriations
There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $400,000,000 for fiscal year 2010.
Availability of amounts
Amounts made available to carry out this section shall remain available until expended.