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House Transportation Appropriations Bill Released

Posted @ Tuesday, May 15, 2018    By Mike Miller
Posted in [ Blog, Clients Only ] | 0 Comments

The House Appropriations Committee released the FY 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill.  The bill includes a total of $71.8 billion in discretionary spending for all agencies covered by the bill which, according to the Committee, is $1.5 billion above prior year funding and $23.8 billion above the FY 2019 budget request submitted to Congress by President Trump earlier this year.


The Committee press release is here and the subcommittee draft text of the legislation is here.  The House THUD Appropriations Subcommittee will hold a markup tomorrow at 5pm EDT.


The bill includes $27.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2019 – $542 million more than enacted in FY 2018 and $11.7 billion above the President’s request. Bill highlights include:


·       BUILD (National Infrastructure Investments (formerly TIGER)) – $750 million aimed at state and local transportation projects. Language is included to ensure a balanced allocation of funding among rural, suburban, and urban areas, and $250 million is set aside for port projects.


·       Air – $17.7 billion in total budgetary resources for the FAA – $310 million below the FY 2018 enacted level and $1.6 billion above the request. Provides full funding for all air traffic control personnel, including 14,500 air traffic controllers, 7,400 safety inspectors, and operational support personnel.  Also, $1.3 billion for FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation (NextGen) program to continue to ease congestion, reduce noise, and improve safety. The bill provides $168 million for the Contract Tower program to maintain service at current towers and bring new qualifying towers into the system.


·       Highways – $46 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal-aid Highways Program, which is $1 billion above the FY 2018 level. The Committee funding mirrors authorized levels. In addition, the bill provides an extra $4.25 billion in discretionary highway funding – a total increase of $2.76 billion for roads and bridges over FY 2018. Within these amounts, $150 million is included to augment the Tribal Transportation Program and to fund projects of national significance on federal and tribal lands.


·       Rail $3.2 billion, or $62.5 million over the FY 2018 enacted level and $2.1 billion above the request.  Rail safety and research programs are funded at $262.3 million which is the same as FY 2018 and $40.4 million above the request.  $1.9 billion is earmarked for Amtrak, of which $650 million is for the Northeast Corridor and $1.3 billion is to support the national network. State of Good Repair grants focused on the Northeast Corridor are funded at $500 million, which is $250 million above FY 2018 enacted level. The bill prohibits funding for high-speed rail in California, the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and for the Federal Railroad Administration to administer a grant agreement with the Authority that contains a tapered match. The bill also prohibits the Surface Transportation Board from taking action regarding the construction of high-speed rail in California unless the Board has jurisdiction over the entire project.


·       Transit – $13.6 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Transit Administration – $141 million above FY 2018 and $2.5 billion above the request. Transit formula grants total $9.9 billion. $2.6 billion is earmarked for Capital Investment Grants projects, of which $1 billion is included for current Full Funding Grant Agreements, and $1 billion is dedicated to new projects. These programs provide competitive grant funding for major transit capital investments – including light rail, bus rapid transit, and commuter rail – that are planned and operated by local communities. It is important to note the bill limits the federal match for New Starts projects to 50 percent.  The bill provides an additional $800 million in transit infrastructure grants – $34 million less than current year funding. This includes $350 million to help communities modernize their bus systems, $250 million in formula grants to assist both rural and urbanized areas invest in transit, and $200 million for capital assistance to transit systems across the country to maintain a state of good repair.


·       Maritime $830.2 million for the Maritime Administration, $149.4 million below the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $133.8 million above the request. The Maritime Security Program is funded at the full authorized level of $300 million. In addition, the bill provides $300 million for a new national security multi-mission vessel, $30 million to refurbish a training ship for state maritime schools, and provides $88.6 million for the United States Merchant Marine Academy, including $18 million for capital improvements and repairs.


·       Safety – $982 million in total budgetary resources for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – an increase of $67 million – and $666 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Also included is $275 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, an increase of $3 million over the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.


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