Federal Budget Could Delay Bay Area Transit Projects

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Artist's conception of a California high-speed rail train. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)

Artist’s conception of a California high-speed rail train. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – As Congress is slated to vote on the budget compromise on Wednesday, two of the biggest Bay Area transportation projects could see severe federal funding cuts.

Republicans slashed $1.5 billion in high-speed rail funding from next year’s budget.

Rod Diridon, a former board member with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said while this will not affect federal funding already in the pipe, it is still unfortunate because these types of capital projects create jobs.

“Construction projects are a good way to put people to work and I hope that both sides of the aisle back in Washington begin to realize that,” Diridon said.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Meanwhile, Republicans are also looking to cut $230 million from the New Starts program, which is partially funding the BART extension to San Jose.

Valley Transportation Authority spokesperson Bernice Alaniz said the cuts will not affect this year’s project budget.

“Not at this time, but any projection of what might happen in 2012 and beyond would be purely speculation,” said Alaniz.

Senate Democrats could fight to save some transit funding this week as the budget debate continues in both the House and Senate.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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