July 13, 2009
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill Passes Subcommittee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies today passed its annual funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2010. The bill contains a total of $123.1 billion, including $68.8 billion in discretionary spending which is $13.8 billion or 25% over last year’s level.
Funding for transportation programs totaling $75.8 billion in this legislation include $9.5 billion for Federal Aviation Administration operations, $42 billion for federal highways, $4 billion for high speed rail, and $10 billion for transit programs. Housing and community development programs total $47.1 billion, and include $18 billion for Section 8 vouchers, $7.3 billion for public housing capital and operating costs, $4.6 billion for the Community Development Fund, and $8.1 billion for project-based housing assistance.
Republicans raised several concerns with the bill’s overall cost and high funding levels for lower-priority programs – such as high speed rail - as well as its lack of focus on imminent, massive budget shortfalls in other areas including the Highway and Aviation Trust Funds.
“Providing a 25 percent increase in this bill at a time when we are drowning in debt and deficits is dangerously irresponsible. And, approving this huge increase without doing anything about the budget disasters looming on the horizon - including the draining of the Highway Trust Fund – will only magnify our nation’s financial problems,” House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis said.
Transportation/HUD Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Republican Tom Latham also expressed serious concerns with the bill and indicated that the important programs within the legislation could have been provided for with a smaller spending allocation.
“There are a lot of good programs in this bill, but a 25% increase in spending makes it hard to support. I hope we can work out these differences as the bill moves through the normal legislative process,” Latham said.