Appropriations Committee Releases Fiscal Year 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Funding Bill
The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2019 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 $71.8 billion in discretionary spending – $1.5 billion above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $23.8 billion above the request. The allocation reflects the second year of the bipartisan budget agreement, and again targets resources to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, including airports, roads, bridges, and rail. This funding will support critical infrastructure investments at the state and local level, and will provide needed resources for community development and essential housing programs.
“For too long, the transportation infrastructure in our nation has been neglected, which has dampened growth and efficiency. This bill will provide a much-needed boost in funding for improvements in our infrastructure system – whether it is roads, rail, transit systems, or air and waterways,” Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “It also supports core community and housing programs to ensure shelter for our most vulnerable citizens, and to provide better opportunity for our local communities to thrive.”
“I am pleased to present this legislation that builds on the investments made to our nation’s infrastructure in last year’s bill. I worked with Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Price to ensure vital programs continue to receive strong funding levels, while eliminating wasteful bureaucratic spending and protecting taxpayer dollars. The President has made it a priority to invest in our nation’s infrastructure, and I am glad we were able to deliver historic levels of funding for the second year in a row. This is another down payment towards rebuilding our nation’s roads, bridges and rail systems, while also providing critical housing improvements for our most vulnerable populations. I look forward to reviewing the bill with the Appropriations Committee and moving it to the floor for consideration by our colleagues,” Subcommittee Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart said.
Department of Transportation (DOT) – The bill includes $27.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2019. This is $542 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $11.7 billion above the President’s request. In total budgetary resources, including offsetting collections, the bill provides $87.8 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 will help create jobs and spur economic growth.
- Trucking regulatory relief – The bill provides regulatory relief to industry by extending the prohibition on enforcement of the Electronic Logging Device regulation in the case of livestock and insect haulers, and facilitates interstate commerce by affirming a uniform hours of service rule
- BUILD (National Infrastructure Investments) – The multimodal BUILD program (formerly known as TIGER) is funded at $750 million. This program will fund states’ and local communities’ most critical transportation projects. Language is included to ensure a balanced allocation of funding among rural, suburban, and urban areas, and $250 million is set aside for port projects
- Air – Included in the legislation is $17.7 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – $310 million below the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $1.6 billion 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 provides $1.3 billion for FAA’s Next Generation Air Transportation (NextGen) program to continue to ease congestion, reduce noise, and improve safety. The bill provides $168 million for the Contract Tower program to maintain service at current towers and bring new qualifying towers into the system.
- Highways – The bill allows $46 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal-aid Highways Program, which is $1 billion above the fiscal year 2018 level. This funding mirrors the authorized levels and will provide much-needed growth and improvements within America’s highway system. In addition, the bill provides an extra $4.25 billion in discretionary highway funding – a total increase of $2.76 billion for roads and bridges over fiscal year 2018. Within these amounts, $150 million is included to augment the Tribal Transportation Program and to fund projects of national significance on federal and tribal lands
- Rail – Federal investments in rail infrastructure and safety programs are funded at $3.2 billion, $62.5 million over the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $2.1 billion above the request.
Rail safety and research programs are funded at $262.3 million, equal to the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $40.4 million above the request. 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 provides a total of $1.9 billion for Amtrak, of which $650 million is for the Northeast Corridor and $1.3 billion is to support the national network. The bill also continues to require overtime limits for Amtrak employees to reduce unnecessary costs.
Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants are funded at $500 million, which is $250 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. This funding will address critical rail investments nationwide and on the Northeast Corridor – needs that must be addressed to sustain current rail services.
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grants are funded at $300 million, a decrease of $292.5 million from the fiscal year 2018 enacted level, to fund capital and safety improvements, planning, environmental work, and research. Within this amount, the bill includes $150 million for grants to rail operators to install positive train control (PTC) technologies, which will significantly improve the safety of our rail system.
The Magnetic Levitation Deployment Program is funded at $150 million. This funding will provide the federal investment required to leverage billions in private investment and deploy this advanced technology on the nation’s most congested transportation corridors.
The bill prohibits funding for high-speed rail in California, the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and for the Federal Railroad Administration to administer a grant agreement with the Authority that contains a tapered match. The bill also 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 $13.6 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) – $141 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $2.5 billion above the request. Transit formula grants total $9.9 billion – consistent with the FAST Act – to help local communities build, maintain, and ensure the safety of their mass transit systems.
Within this amount, $2.6 billion is included for Capital Investment Grants projects, of which $1 billion is included for current Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs), and $1 billion is dedicated to new projects. These programs provide competitive grant funding for major transit capital investments – including 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.
The bill provides an additional $800 million in transit infrastructure grants – $34 million less than the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. This includes $350 million to help communities modernize their bus systems, $250 million in formula grants to assist both rural and urbanized areas invest in transit, and $200 million for capital assistance to transit systems across the country to maintain a state of good repair.
- Maritime – The legislation includes $830.2 million for the Maritime Administration, $149.4 million below the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $133.8 million above the request. This funding 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. In addition, the bill provides $300 million for a new national security multi-mission vessel, $30 million to refurbish a training ship for state maritime schools, and provides $88.6 million for the United States Merchant Marine Academy, including $18 million for capital improvements and repairs.
- Safety – The legislation contains funding for the various transportation safety programs and agencies within the Department of Transportation. This includes $982 million in total budgetary resources for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – an increase of $67 million over the fiscal year 2018 enacted level – and $666 million is included for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as authorized under the FAST Act. Also included is $275 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, an increase of $3 million over the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – The legislation includes a net discretionary total of $43.6 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, an increase $941 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $11.9 billion above the request.
- Section 8 and Public and Native American Housing – Included in the bill is $30.8 billion for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and Public and Indian Housing programs. This is an increase of $455 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. This funding level will continue assistance to families and individuals currently served by these programs and provide additional assistance for vulnerable populations, including:
- Vouchers for Persons with Disabilities – $390 million is provided to support existing voucher holders and serve 30,000 additional non-elderly disabled households.
- Vouchers for Veterans – In addition to all current HUD-VASH vouchers, $40 million is provided to house additional homeless veterans.
- Vouchers for Families with Children – $20 million is provided to help families with children break the cycle of poverty and achieve economic independence by moving closer to job opportunities and better schools.
- Competitive Tribal Grants – $100 million is provided to support the most pressing affordable housing needs in Indian Country.
- Community Planning and Development – The bill includes $7.6 billion for Community Planning and Development programs – $115 million below the fiscal year 2018 enacted level.
- Community Development Block Grants are funded at $3.3 billion, equal to the fiscal year 2018 level. These block grants provide critical infrastructure dollars to states and local communities to address economic development and housing needs.
- The HOME Investment Partnerships Program is funded at $1.2 billion, $162 million below the enacted level. These funds are provided by formula to local jurisdictions, which leverage funding to create affordable housing stock in partnership with private investors.
- Homeless Assistance Grants are funded at $2.5 billion, $33 million above the enacted level. This funding will renew all current agreements with local homeless service providers. In addition, targeted funding is provided to address geographic areas that have seen an increase in homelessness, and to provide assistance to victims of domestic violence.
- Other Housing Programs – The bill provides $12.6 billion for other housing programs, $101 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level, and $655 million above the request. The bulk of this increase is needed to continue existing assistance to all those currently served by these programs, including elderly and disabled families. Of this total, the bill provides $11.7 billion for Project-Based Rental Assistance, $232 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $600 million above the request. In addition, the bill provides $632 million for Housing for the Elderly and $154 million for Housing for Persons with Disabilities.
- Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes – Lead hazard reduction grants are funded at $230 million, equal to the enacted level, for grants to target lead-based paint abatement needs and to protect children from housing-related health and safety concerns
For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please click here.