This week in Transportation: After sequestration, lawmakers look to rail funding

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The current version of the legislation, the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, is set to expire when the 2013 fiscal year ends in September.

Denham is a vocal critic of the one of the largest passenger rail projects currently in development, a controversial high-speed railway in California that has received more than $3 billion from the Obama administration.

Denham has sought to block any more federal funding from going to the California high-speed railway, arguing that its developers have not demonstrated how they will sustain its operations once the line is built.

Sequestration will not be completely on the back burner this week. Lawmakers and the Department of Transportation will likely continue grappling over the impact of the $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts on the national aviation system.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has argued that its portion of the sequester, a $600 million cut, will result in delays for airline passengers because it will necessitate furloughs for air traffic controllers.

Republicans in Congress have argued that the Obama administration will have some flexibility within the accounts of agencies like the FAA to avoid furloughs.

The FAA has said that it will not initiate furloughs or facility closings until April at the earliest because it is required to provide 30 days' notice to employees.