Transportation Spending Approved By Senate Committee
On April 21, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2017 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Appropriations Bill. The $56.5 billion bill was approved 30-0 and prioritizes funding for transportation projects and programs to encourage economic growth as well as for core housing programs.
The bill represents an $827 million decrease from FY2016 enacted levels and is $2.9 billion below the President’s budget request. With significant budget constraints, the bill targets funding for critical programs, while making choices to reduce spending in lower-priority areas.
The US Department of Transportation has been allotted $16.9 billion in discretionary appropriations. This is $1.7 billion below the FY2016 enacted level and $2.5 billion below the President’s request. Within this amount, funding is prioritized on programs to make transportation systems safe, efficient, and reliable. The bill ignores the budget request to shift certain programs from discretionary to mandatory spending. In addition, the bill provides $44 billion; the exact amount authorized by the Highway Trust Fund, to be spent on the Federal-aid Highways Program, consistent with the recently-enacted surface transportation authorization bill, or FAST Act. The bill also continues to allow state departments of transportation to repurpose old, unused earmarks for more important infrastructure projects.
Now the bill goes before the full Senate, where it is recommended for consideration.