Posts Tagged ‘House Appropriations Committee’

House Budget Bill Boosts Transportation Spending

July 20, 2021

The House Appropriations Committee last week approved a spending bill for fiscal year 2022 that would boost spending on transportation programs over FY2021 levels.

The bill, known as the Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies legislation provides an increase of $1.9 billion for the U.S. Department of Transportation.

USDOT is allocated $105.7 billion in budgetary resources, a 22 percent increase above the FY2021 enacted level ($86.7 billion) and the President Joseph Biden’s FY2022 budget request of $87 billion.

Among the spending levels authorized for transportation programs are:

• $1.2 billion for National Infrastructure Investments, a 20 percent increase from FY 2021. It includes $20 million for Transportation Planning Grants to assist areas of persistent poverty, a 100 percent increase over FY 2021. An additional $100 million is included for a new grant program to “spur thriving communities nationwide.”

•$4.1 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, up 46 percent from FY 2021. This includes $625 million for the new Passenger Rail Improvement, Modernization, and Expansion (PRIME) grant program “to support projects that improve, expand or establish passenger rail service”; $500 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program, a 33 percent increase from FY 2021; $2.7 billion for Amtrak, a 35 percent boost over FY 2021, which includes $1.2 billion for Northeast Corridor Grants and $1.5 billion for National Network Grants.

• $15.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, including $12.2 billion for Transit Formula Grants to expand bus fleets and increase the transit state of good repair; $2.5 billion for Capital Investment Grants to construct more than 23 new transit routes nationwide, a 22 percent increase above the FY 2021 enacted level and equal to the president’s budget request; and $580 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants to purchase more than 300 zero-emission buses and 400 diesel buses, and to support “transformative research for transit systems,” which is a 12 percent increase above FY 2021.

House Committee Gives Amtrak Extra Funding

July 18, 2020

The House Appropriations Committee has voted to give Amtrak $10 billion in federal fiscal year 2021 with a mandate that long-distance service continue to operate daily.

By a 30-22 vote the committee approved the $18.9 billion Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill, which includes transportation funding for federal fiscal year 2021.

The THUD bill was one of 24 that the committee marked up during the past 10 days and sent to the House floor.

The bill allocates $3 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, of which more than two-thirds of which will go to Amtrak.

That includes $2 billion for the passenger carrier through the standard budgeting process. Another $3 billion was allocated for the National Network and $5 billion for the Northeast Corridor as part of an economic stimulus title.

The stimulus title contains $75 billion to help the U.S. economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Of that $21 billion will go for rail and transit operations.

“The emergency funding in this bill is pivotal to kick start a strong and equitable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic collapse,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey.

The committee approved on a voice vote an amendment requiring the use of masks by passenger and employees on airlines, Amtrak, and in large transit agencies, as well as enhanced sanitation measures.

Congressional watchers expect the transportation and other appropriations bills to be passed by the full House but their fate in the Senate is uncertain.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby is resisting demands of Democrats on the committee to be allowed to offer amendments on COVID-19 emergency aid and police reforms.

Shelby said that would violate a previous agreement on how bi-partisan bills are to be considered.

Some believe Congress will wind up passing a series of continuing resolutions to keep federal spending at its current levels into the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1.

It remains to be seen if Congress will adopt spending bills for FY2021 in the lame duck session following the November election or leave that business for the next Congress that will be seated in January 2021.

The $2.05 billion in the bill for standard Amtrak funding is $50 million above the enacted appropriation for the passenger carrier in FY2020 and $1.1 billion above the Trump administration’s budget request.

The bill allocates $18.9 billion for the Federal Transit Administration.

Funding Bill Would Require Daily Amtrak Service

July 9, 2020

A draft appropriations bill introduced this week in a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee mandates that Amtrak continue to operate long-distance trains on a daily basis in federal fiscal year 2021.

The bill would increase Amtrak’s federal appropriation and allocate $26 billion in additional emergency grant funds for Amtrak and public transportation.

Amtrak would be directed to not cut staff or routes.

The bill’s language says Amtrak can’t use any of the appropriated funds to “discontinue, reduce the frequency of, suspend, or substantially alter the route of rail service on any portion of such route operated in Fiscal Year 2018.”

Another clause bans furloughs and freezes the route structure at Fiscal 2019 levels.

The passenger carrier would receive $2.05 billion with Northeast Corridor funding increased by $50 million over FY2020 to $750 million. The FY 2020’s National Network level of $1.3 billion would be retained.

The emergency funding for FY2021 includes $5 billion for the Northeast Corridor, $3 billion for the National Network, $5 billion for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements program, $3 billion for BUILD grants, $5 billion for Capital Investment Grants targeting surface transportation and $100 million for Maglev on top of $5 million in Maglev appropriations in the core appropriations measure.

Within the $5 billion NEC appropriation provision, subcommittee members earmarked $1 billion for capital projects, $200 million for upgrades related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and $172 million to cover 2021 capital payments that would have come from states.

Earmarks on the national network funding states that $424 million of the $3 billion be used for state-related payments, capital projects and positive train control.

The bill must still be approved by the full House before it can be sent to the Senate.

Ultimately, differences between the House and Senate will need to be worked out in a conference committee.

House Committee Boosts Transportation Funding

June 6, 2019

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved a bill that will increase funding for public transportation and passenger in fiscal year 2020 by $16.2 billion.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Related Agencies bill provides $137.1 billion in total funding for a $6 billion increase above the 2019 enacted level and $17.3 billion above President Trump’s budget request,

Among the transportation funding highlights of the bill are:

• $1 billion for national infrastructure investments under the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program, a $100 million increase above the 2019 enacted level and equal to the president’s budget request.

• $3 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), $96 million above the 2019 enacted level and $877 million above the president’s budget request.

• $350 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair, $50 million below the 2019 enacted level. The president’s budget request proposed eliminating this program;

• $2 billion for Amtrak, $50 million above the 2019 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the president’s budget request.

• $700 million for Northeast Corridor Grants, $50 million above the 2019 enacted level and $375 million above the president’s budget request.

• $1.3 billion for National Network Grants, equal to the 2019 enacted level and $681 million above the president’s budget request.

• $13.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $60 million above the 2019 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the president’s budget request.

• $2.3 billion for Capital Investment Grants, equal to the authorized level, $251 million below the 2019 enacted level, and $797 million above the president’s budget request.

• $750 million for Transit Infrastructure Grants, $50 million above the 2019 enacted level and $250 million above the president’s budget request.

The bill also prohibits the Federal Railroad Administration from seeking to recover funds already provided to the California high-speed rail project and allocates the federal funding share for the Gateway tunnel project on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between New York and New Jersey.

House Committee Increases Some Transportation Spending

July 24, 2017

A House appropriations committee has approved a transportation spending bill for fiscal year 2018 that saves funding of Amtrak long-distance trains and increases spending on passenger rail by $360 million.

Much of the funding increase would be channeled toward fixing infrastructure in the Northeast Corridor. The bill allocates $900 million toward the Gateway program in New York and New Jersey.

However, the bill is less favorable toward funding of public transit. It cuts some funding by $662 million even as it keeps a key investment program that has funded rail transit and commuter rail projects. The TIGER grant program would also be cut.

The funding bill was approved primarily along party lines with many committee Democrats voting against it because they want to see more infrastructure spending.

But Republicans countered that adding additional funding would cause the bill to fail on the House floor.

The full House must still act on the bill while the Senate has yet to take up its own transportation spending bill. FY 2018 will begin on Oct. 1.