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Prior to leaving town for the July 4 recess, the funding panel in the U.S. House of Representatives will take up a fiscal 2023 transportation bill June 30.
The legislation aims to ensure operational continuity at the U.S. Department of Transportation for the upcoming fiscal year. Current federal funding authority is set to expire Oct. 1.
The legislation, which easily advanced in subcommittee last week, would match President Joe Biden’s funding request for programs at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The bill would provide FMCSA $367.5 million for its safety operations and programs, and $506.1 million for its safety grants division.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) says the bill advances climate change, transit and electric vehicles programs. (Ting Shen/Bloomberg News)
Other transportation agencies would see funding increases under the bill. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, emphasized the bill is meant as a way to advance climate change, transit and electric vehicles programs included in the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). That law was enacted Nov. 15.
Americans across the country are still living with the consequences of our crumbling transportation infrastructure.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
“With the historic investments included in the 2022 federal spending package and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we are improving our roads, bridges and transit systems, but Americans across the country are still living with the consequences of our crumbling transportation infrastructure and aging housing stock,” DeLauro said. “Our annual duty to the American people to ensure we pay our transportation workers, improve the safety of our roads, and improve housing remains.”
Rep. David Price (D-N.C.), chairman of the transportation funding subcommittee, added that the bill “furthers our efforts to modernize and make more equitable our nation’s infrastructure by building upon the recent investments to remedy inequities in our transportation and housing systems, bolster our resiliency to a more extreme climate, and address our nation’s affordable housing and homelessness crises.” Price is the bill’s sponsor.
The House fiscal 2023 funding bill would dedicate $61.3 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, $18.7 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, $17.5 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $3.8 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration and $1.2 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, it would dedicate $987 million for the Maritime Administration. Overall, USDOT would receive $90.9 billion, an increase of $9.9 billion above the enacted level. The appropriations committee is expected to publish a report on the bill to outline recommendations about certain provisions.
House Democratic leaders say they intend to schedule a floor vote on the legislation prior to the congressional August recess.
Many Republicans who oppose the bill criticized its proposed funding levels.
“American families are really struggling to make ends meet due to record high inflation, and we have to find ways to rein in government spending so we don’t make the problem worse,” Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), Appropriations Committee ranking member, said during a subcommittee hearing last week.
Senators, meanwhile, have yet to announce a timeline for the consideration of their funding bills.
The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)
June 28, 9 a.m.: Punchbowl News hosts a discussion with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R).
June 28, 11:30 a.m.: The Center for a New American Security hosts a panel discussion on supply chains.
June 30, 10 a.m.: The House Appropriations Committee marks up its fiscal 2023 transportation bill. Watch the hearing here.
June 30, 11:30 a.m.: The House Energy and Commerce Committee examines recycling operations nationwide. Watch the hearing here.
President Joe Biden, during a recent trip to Europe, expanded on his “infrastructure decade” vision.
Advances in the commercial space travel industry prompted the leaders of the U.S. House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to press Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on June 24 on the National Transportation Safety Board’s oversight role.
“As an independent agency, ‘the NTSB can carry out unbiased investigations and make recommendations regarding safety regulations and oversight practices of the DOT without inherent conflicts of interest,’ ” wrote Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.), committee chairman and ranking member, respectively, and Reps. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Garret Graves (R-La.), aviation subcommittee chairman and ranking member, respectively
“It is clear the NTSB’s independence must be protected in order to maintain the integrity and safety of the U.S. transportation system,” they added. “Since commercial space transportation is an important element of the U.S. transportation system, the NTSB’s authority to investigate such commercial space accidents is unequivocable.”
DeFazio, chairman of the transportation panel in the U.S. House, said he is not on board with President Biden’s push for a three-month suspension of the federal fuel tax.
“Although well-intentioned, this policy would at best achieve only minuscule relief while blowing a $10 billion hole in the Highway Trust Fund that would need to be filled if we want to continue to fix crumbling bridges, address the spike in traffic deaths and build a modern infrastructure system,” DeFazio said this month. “We should instead deliver relief directly to consumers by ending Big Oil’s price gouging and profiteering, with my bill, the Stop Gas Price Gouging Tax and Rebate Act, which taxes the oil industry’s obscene 2022 profits and returns the revenue back to Americans.”
Biden recently called on Congress to suspend the 18.4 cents-per-gallon gas tax and 24.4 cents-per-gallon diesel tax for three months. The president explained the suspension would assist consumers with economic pressures. AAA reported that the average price of gas was $4.94 a gallon as of June 23. According to the Energy Information Administration on June 13, the national average price of diesel reached $5.718 a gallon.
Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the chamber’s legislative schedule.
Cities are making it happen.
The Last Word
When we restore and conserve habitat, we also protect communities and support local economies.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) on June 15
We publish Mondays when Congress is in session and add updates throughout the week. See previous installments of Capitol Agenda here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.
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