Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-Minn.) says local agencies would have “substantial flexibility” in using the funds. It is unknown how much would go for construction, new rail cars and buses or paying for rising fuel costs, but the aid is unlikely to fund major new lines. The bill hikes the federal funding share for parking garages at ends of transit lines, to 100% from 80%. All the funds would be subject to annual appropriations, however. There has been no Senate action on the bill yet.

he House has approved legislation to authorize $1.7 billion over two years for transit operations and capital programs. Funding in the bill, passed on June 26 by a 322-98 vote, would supplement authorizations in 2005’s SAFETEA-LU.