July 10, 2017
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2018 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 reflects an allocation of $56.5 billion in discretionary spending – $1.1 billion below fiscal year 2017 and $8.6 billion above the request. This funding is targeted to essential investments in transportation infrastructure investments, as well as fundamental community development and housing programs.
“Now more than ever, it is critical to our economy and to our quality of life to have safe and well-functioning transportation infrastructure. This bill makes investments in essential highway, air, rail, and maritime programs that will keep our people and our goods moving efficiently,” Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “In addition, it includes responsible funding to ensure communities across the nation have access to necessary community development funds, and to provide housing to those who need it the most – including the poor, elderly, and disabled.”
“I am pleased to introduce this critical legislation that will keep our housing and transportation programs efficient, while making the most of taxpayer dollars. The bill provides for infrastructure improvement and safety, as well as essential housing programs that are serving needy populations. I look forward to working with Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Price to keep Americans moving and to provide for vulnerable communities across our country,” Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart said.
Department of Transportation (DOT) – The bill includes $17.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2018. This is $646 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $1.5 billion above the President’s request. In total budgetary resources, including offsetting collections, the bill provides $76.7 billion to improve and maintain our nation’s transportation infrastructure.
The bill targets funding to programs and projects that will increase efficiency, safety, reliability, and quality of life for the traveling public, and that will help improve commerce and economic growth.
- Air – Included in the legislation is $16.6 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – $153 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $435 million above the request. This will provide full funding for all air traffic control personnel, including 14,500 air traffic controllers, 7,400 safety inspectors, and operational support personnel. The bill also builds on several years of increased funding by providing over $1 billion for the FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation Systems (NextGen), and funds Contract Towers at $162 million. These investments will help ease future congestion and help reduce delays for travelers in U.S. airspace. In addition, the bill does not include new passenger facility and general aviation fees.
- Highways – The bill allows $45 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal-aid Highways Program, which is $968 million above the fiscal year 2017 level. This funding mirrors the authorized levels and will provide much needed growth and improvements within America’s highway system.
- Rail – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is funded at $2.2 billion, $360 million over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $1.1 billion above the request. The bill provides a total of $1.4 billion for Amtrak, of which $328 million is for the Northeast Corridor grants, and $1.1 billion is to support the national network. The bill also continues to require overtime limits for Amtrak employees to reduce unnecessary costs. Rail safety and research programs are funded at $258.3 million, equal to the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This will fund inspectors and training, plus maintenance and safety investments to the physical rail infrastructure, to help ensure the safety of passengers and local communities. The bill also provides funding for two authorized grant programs. It funds the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants at $500 million, which will address some of the $38 billion backlog on the Northeast Corridor – needs that must be addressed simply to sustain current rail services. In addition, the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grants are funded at $25 million, a reduction of $43 million from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Eligible activities include capital and safety improvements, planning, environmental work, and research. The bill prohibits funding for high speed rail in California, the California High Speed Rail Authority, and for FRA to administer a grant agreement with the Authority that contains a tapered match. The bill prohibits the Surface Transportation Board from taking action regarding the construction of high-speed rail in California unless the Board has jurisdiction over the entire project.
- Transit – The bill provides $11.75 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) – $662 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $526 million above the request. Transit formula grants total $9.7 billion – consistent with the authorization level – to help local communities build, maintain, and ensure the safety of their mass transit systems. Within this amount, $1.75 billion is included for Capital Investment Grants, and $1 billion for “Full Funding Grant Agreement” (FFGA) transit projects. Core capacity projects receive $145 million in the bill, $182 million is included to fund all state and local “Small Starts” projects, and $400 million is included for new projects that provide both public transportation and inner-city passenger rail service. These programs provide competitive grant funding for major transit capital investments – including rapid rail, light rail, bus rapid transit, and commuter rail – that are planned and operated by local communities. Bill language limits the federal match for New Starts projects to 50 percent.
- Maritime – The legislation includes $490.6 million for the Maritime Administration, $31.9 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This funding level will continue to increase the productivity, efficiency, and safety of the nation’s ports and intermodal water and land transportation. The Maritime Security Program is funded at the full authorized level of $300 million.
- Safety – The legislation contains funding for the various transportation safety programs and agencies within the Department of Transportation. This includes $927 million in total budgetary resources for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – an increase of $15 million over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level – and $758 million is included for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, $113.6 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. Also included is $268 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, an increase of $3.7 million over the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
- Grants – The legislation eliminates National Infrastructure Investment grants (also known as TIGER grants), which were funded at $500 million in fiscal year 2017.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – The legislation includes a net discretionary total of $38.3 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a decrease of $487 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $6.9 billion above the request.
- Section 8 and Public and Native American Housing – Included in the bill is $27.5 billion for Public and Indian Housing. This is a decrease of $16 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This is adequate to continue assistance to all families and individuals currently served by these programs. Other housing programs within the bill are funded at $11.9 billion, $326.4 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The bulk of this increase is needed to continue existing assistance to all those currently served by these programs. Of this total, the bill provides $11.1 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance, $266 million above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. In addition, the bill provides a $573 million for Housing for the Elderly – $70.6 million above the current level – and $147 million for Housing for Persons with Disabilities – an increase of $800,000 above the current level.
Community Planning and Development – The bill contains $6.6 billion for Community Planning and Development programs – $209 million below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
Community Development Block Grants are funded at $2.9 billion, $100 million below fiscal year 2017 level. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program is funded at $850 million, $100 million below the current year.
Grants for Homeless Assistance are funded at $2.4 billion, which is equal to the level provided in fiscal year 2017.
For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/AP/AP20/20170711/106228/BILLS-115HR-SC-AP-FY2018-TransHUD-TransportationHoushingandUrbanDevelopment.pdf