Digest: Transit group decries Senate Republicans' virus relief package

News Wire Digest second section for July 28: Austin approves transit ballot measure; Indiana town, CSX reach agreement, avoiding lawsuit
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More Tuesday morning rail news:

APTA blasts Republicans' coronavirus package
Senate Republicans released a proposed $1 trillion coronavirus relief package on Monday afternoon, a proposal that drew immediate negative reaction from the American Public Transportation Association. The Senate proposal reportedly includes no funding for transit; the $3 trillion relief act passed earlier in the House of Representatives includes $15.75 billion for transit. In a statement released Monday night, APTA President Paul P. Skoutelas said the package “ignores the dire situation facing the public transportation industry and the vital role public transit has played during the pandemic. … Ignoring the essential role public transit has played during these past four months harms communities and the essential employees keeping this country moving during a pandemic.” Skoutelas called for at least $32 billion in emergency transit funding in the final version of the bill. CBS News calls Monday's package the “opening bid in negotiations with congressional Democrats.” Full text of the bill has not yet been released.

Austin sends transit measure to voters
The Austin, Texas, City Council and Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board have approved an initiative for the November ballot to fund the Austin region’s “Project Connect” transit plan. The Austin Monitor reports both groups unanimously approved the resolution with a 8.75-cent property tax rate, which would fund 70% of the original $10 billion plan. Capital Metro offered a reduced version of the plan last week that cut $3 billion by shortening one proposed light rail line and replacing another with increased bus service [see “Digest: Groups lobby for major sanctions …,” July 23, 2020]. 

Crawfordsville, CSX reach agreement delaying crossing work
After threatening to sue CSX, Crawfordsville, Ind., has reached agreement with the railroad delaying planned work on a key grade crossing in the city. The Crawfordsville Journal Review reports the work on East Market Street will be delayed until construction on parallel East Wabash Avenue if completed. That work is scheduled to be done in mid-August. Crawfordsville said last week it would sue CSX and the Indiana Department of Transportation after failing to convince the railroad to delay its project, which had been slated to start late this month. The city was concerned that having both streets close would cut off the major east-west routes through the community and pose a safety hazard [see “Digest: Houston transit workers to get coronavirus bonus,” July 24, 2020].



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