Transportation Funding Package Passed by Senate Committee

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By unanimous vote, the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $86.6 billion in fiscal year 2020 funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation — which is $167 million above the FY 2019 enacted level.

“This legislation prioritizes funding for infrastructure that will improve our nation’s transportation systems and housing programs, enhancing job creation and economic development across the country,” said Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

The total funding for DOT includes $25.3 billion in discretionary appropriations and $61.3 billion in obligation limitations that fully honors Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act funding levels from the Highway Trust Fund, noted Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee.

The next step in the funding process is to reconcile the Senate and House appropriation measures. Reconciliation bills only require the support of a simple majority of the Senate for passage.

Key transportation components of the Senate subcommittee’s proposed THUD spending legislation include:

HIGHWAY PROGRAMS

  • $46.3 billion for the Federal-aid Highways Program, with the money coming from the Highway Trust Fund.
  • $2.7 billion in discretionary appropriations for highway programs, of which $1.25 billion is for the Surface Transportation Block Grant funds, and $1.25 billion is for bridge repairs in small states with high rates of bridges not in good condition.
  • $972 million in total budgetary resources for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

TRANSIT PROGRAMS

  • $13 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, with transit formula grants getting a total $10.1 billion from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund
  • $560 million from the general fund for transit infrastructure grants
  • $300 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants

SURFACE TRANSPORTATION PROGRAMS (roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports)

  • $1 billion in funds for the Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development or BUILD discretionary grant program. (Previously known as TIGER Discretionary Grants)

RAILROAD PROGRAMS

  • $2.8 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration
  • $255 million for the FRA’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants program
  •  $2 million for Restoration and Enhancement grants

AVIATION PROGRAMS

  • $17.7 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Source: AASHTO Journal

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