June 20, 2008
Transportation-Housing Appropriations bill lacks shortfall solutions, contains extravagant spending increases
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) today approved its fiscal year 2009 spending legislation. The bill contains a total of $54.9 billion, which is $6 billion over last year’s level and $4.3 billion over the President’s request. This includes a 5.1% increase in funding for the Department of Transportation (DOT), and a 6.4% increase for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The legislation contains no provisions to address the massive, looming shortfalls in major transportation and housing programs – such as the Highway Trust Fund and the Section 8 Voucher program –while maintaining the skyrocketing cost of the status quo on these accounts.
“We cannot continue to throw extravagant amounts of taxpayer dollars down bottomless pits, crossing our fingers that someone else will find a way to plug the hole,” Lewis said. “The problems with these programs are not new. Continuing to pass the buck and fund these floundering programs is simply not the answer.”
The legislation also contains a large increase for Amtrak. The struggling rail corporation is funded at $1.7 billion, which is $155 million more than last year, and $625 million – or 57 percent – over the President’s request.
“While it is important that in this time of $4 gas we support alternative transportation, Amtrak is a debt-plagued, unprofitable, and unsustainable program that needs major reforms to be worth the American taxpayer’s investment,” Lewis said.
“This overly indulgent spending bill virtually ignores the nation’s housing or transportation challenges. This legislation is far from perfect, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to improve this bill as we continue with a normal, regular Appropriations process,” he continued.
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