The Washington Post is reporting that the US Senate has approved $1.5 billion in funding for Metro. This development from Wednesday night follows passage by the House of Representatives last week and because it passed with a veto-proof margin, President Bush is unlikely to veto it.
The funding had been tied up by a lone senator from Oklahoma, Tom Colburn. He objects to all earmarks, not just ones for Metro, but the bill was finally passed as a part of a rail safety bill which will give $13 billion to Amtrak.
The funding will be doled out over the next 10 years, if matching funds can be made available by the jurisdictions. This is very likely because the District and Maryland have already set up their funding sources and Virginia has a law which requires that they match federal funds (they can't leave them to expire). Governor Kaine has promised to find the funding, amounting to $50 million a year from each of the jurisdictions, even at the expense of other transportation projects.
Just last week, Metro announced $11 billion in funding needs for the next decade. This bill will provide $3 billion toward that goal ($1.5 billion from the federal government, $1.5 billion from the states). More funding will need to be found in order to keep Metro running smoothly, but this is a giant step forward.
Incidentally, Senator Obama voted for the bill. Senator Biden did not vote on the legislation, but I think his former commute pattern speaks for itself.
Senator McCain voted against it.
Governor Palin can see Russia from her house. (Not really)