Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/30/2010 01:56:14 PM PDT

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would provide $43.8 million in federal funding for Omnitrans, Metrolink and other Inland Empire public transportation projects.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and the President. But Rep. Joe Baca (D-San Bernardino), who secured the Inland Empire funding, called it a positive step toward decreasing traffic congestion and creating new jobs for the area.

“The vital local funding included in this bill will improve public transportation for all area residents, while also helping to get more cars off the road to ease congestion and improve air quality for Inland residents,” he said.

More than $42 million will go toward the E Street Corridor sbX bus project, a 16-mile route between San Bernardino and Loma Linda.

Robert Miller, Omnitrans chief financial officer, said sbX will provide customers a travel time comparable to the automobile.

“We’re real excited about it,” Miller said.

The bill also includes $700,000 for Rialto to improve and expand its Metrolink parking lot.

Rialto Mayor Grace Vargas said the project is ready to go, but the city is just waiting for approval of funding.

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