Three from USDOT

Three stories from the U.S. Department of Transportation today — LaHood on YouTube, new grants for green transit, and a big loan for Amtrak.

Secretary Ray LaHood’s latest installment of On the Go is on YouTube. This month LaHood tackles viewer questions about livability, sustainability, and traffic safety.

Next, the Federal Transit Administration announced that transit providers will be able to compete for a share of $101.4 million in federal funding by proposing environmentally sustainable projects. Grants are available from the Federal Transit Administration’s sustainability initiative, which includes funding from two programs: $51.5 million from the Clean Fuels Grant program and $49.9 million from the Transit Investment in Greenhouse Gas and Energy Reduction (TIGGER) III program. “With high gasoline prices hitting families hard, investments in transit are more important than ever,” said FTA administrator Peter Rogoff in a statement. “By giving Americans more transportation choices, we’re providing a win for their pocketbooks and for the environment.”

Finally, Amtrak will receive a $562.9 million loan under the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program. Funds will enable Amtrak to purchase 70 high-performance electric locomotives from Siemens Industry USA. “This financing plan is already putting Americans back to work at assembly plants and supply companies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, California and Georgia,” said LaHood in a statement. The loan is the largest in the history of the RRIF program and will support 250 new manufacturing jobs. Amtrak will put the locomotives in service on its Northeast and Keystone corridors starting in 2013.

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