Appropriations Committee Releases the Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill
September 7, 2011 -
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2012 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies.
In total, the bill includes $55.15 billion in discretionary spending – a reduction of $19.8 billion below the President’s request and $217 million below last year’s level. The funding level in this bill reflects the overall fiscal year 2012 discretionary spending total of $1.043 billion to which the House, Senate, and White House agreed in the recent debt ceiling legislation.
“Step by step, we are trimming government spending and streamlining programs to make them more cost-effective, efficient, and responsive to the American people. This bill saves taxpayers billions of dollars and eliminates waste wherever possible. And it reflects responsible decisions to ensure that the transportation and housing programs Americans rely on can remain in place for years to come without putting our nation even further in debt,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
Subcommittee Chairman Tom Latham added, “This bill establishes a realistic approach to funding these programs by building on a foundation of fiscal responsibility. The American people rightfully expect leaders to put people before politics and progress before partisanship to change the way Washington works and the work that Washington does to restore the confidence in the American Dream and our economy. We recognize that responsibility with a bill that focuses on a continued commitment to reducing the size, cost, waste and scope of the federal government.”
For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/12THUD_xml.pdf
For a table comparing the draft legislation with the President’s request and the fiscal year 2011 levels, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/9.7.11_THUD_Subcommittee_Draft_Summary_Table.pdf
Transportation – The bill includes $16.7 billion for the Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2012, which is $3 billion above last year’s level and $15.8 billion below the President’s request.
- Highways – The bill provides $27.7 billion for the Federal Highway program – the highest amount supportable by the Highway Trust Fund for fiscal year 2012. The highway program still requires reauthorization to operate beyond September 2011, and the Committee is prepared to support a higher Highway Trust Fund spending level, should a new, multi-year authorization bill be enacted. The bill does not contain a rescission of highway contract authority from the states.
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – Included in the legislation is $12.6 billion for the FAA, an increase of $233 million over last year and $485 million below the President’s request. The bill fully funds the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), allowing the FAA to move forward with the next step in modernizing the nation’s air control and airport system, which will help ease congestion and reduce delays for travelers in U.S. airspace.
- Rail – The Federal Railroad Administration is funded at $1.3 billion, which is $7 billion below the President’s request and $36 million above last year’s level. Of this amount, $1.1 billion is targeted to Amtrak, primarily for capital improvements to the nation’s rail lines. The bill also includes policy reforms for Amtrak, such as requiring overtime limits on Amtrak employees to reduce unnecessary costs, and reinstates a provision that prohibits federal funding for routes where Amtrak offers a discount of 50% or more off normal, peak fares. In addition, the bill does not include funding for High Speed Rail or Intercity Passenger Rail Service.
- Transit – The bill contains a total of $1.8 billion for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is $1.9 billion below the President’s request and an increase of $169 million over last year. The legislation also provides $5.2 billion in state and local bus grants – the amount estimated to be available from the Mass Transit Account (trust fund) for fiscal year 2012. Like the highway program, the transit program still requires reauthorization to operate beyond September 2011, and the Committee is prepared to support a higher formula bus spending level should a new, multi-year authorization bill be enacted.
The legislation also limits transit capital investments – only funding “Small Starts” projects and those projects that have signed Full-Funding Grant Agreements with the FTA prior to November 1, 2011. The legislation also includes language that prohibits new Full-Funding Grant Agreements if the project is more than 50% federally funded.
- Safety – The legislation contains funding for the various transportation safety programs and agencies within the Department of Transportation. This includes $731.1 million in both mandatory and discretionary funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – a decrease of $65.4 million below last year; $529.7 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – a decrease of $25.4 million below last year; and $182.9 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration – a decrease of $13.2 million below last year.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – The legislation includes a total of $38.1 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a decrease of $3 billion below last year’s level and $4 billion below the President’s request. The bill does not contain funding for any new “sustainable,” “livable,” or “green” community development programs.
- Section 8 and Public Housing – Included in the bill is $24.5 billion for Public and Indian housing. This is a decrease of $1.3 billion below last year and $2.3 billion below the President’s request.
This spending cut is largely due to administrative and capital reductions, allowing the bill to provide funding to renew every individual and family in the program to ensure that no critical benefits are eliminated or cancelled. For example, the bill includes provisions to: allow HUD to prioritize new funding on Public Housing Agencies (PHA) that need it the most; cap PHA director salaries; and defund public housing units that were included in the failed “stimulus” bill.
Within the total funding, several critical housing programs are increased, including: $75 million ($25 million more than last year) for new vouchers for homeless veterans; $600 million ($200 million more than last year) for Housing for the Elderly; and $196 million ($46 million more than last year) for Housing for Persons with Disabilities.
- Community Planning and Development – The bill contains almost $7 billion for Community Planning and Development programs – a decrease of $438.4 million below last year’s level and $1.2 billion below the President’s request. The Community Development Block Grant account is funded at $3.5 billion – the same as last year’s funding level and $280.4 million below the President’s request.
The bill also includes several provisions to ensure that tax dollars used for community development programs are well-spent and have the most benefit for the American people. For example, the legislation requires oversight reports on eliminating waste, fraud and abuse; reduces funding for the mismanaged HOME Investment Partnerships Program by 25%; and caps the portion of Community Development Block Grant funds that may be used for administrative expenses at 10% (down from 20%). In addition, the bill does not contain funding for any new “sustainable,” “livable,” or “green” community development programs.