DOT’s Fiscal 2024 Budget Request Boosts Safety, Supply Chain Programs
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Safety and freight connectivity programs are prioritized in the White House’s fiscal 2024 budget request for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
As part of a $6.9 trillion budget blueprint delivered to a divided Congress on March 9, President Joe Biden highlighted efforts meant to improve safety along the nation’s highways while boosting supply chain connectivity. The budget’s transportation portfolio also focused on climate change, environmental justice and the adoption of emerging technologies.
“The budget reflects our values as a nation — a nation of good people, growing in a new age of possibilities and standing as a beacon to the world. Together, let us put those values into practice and prove that democracy delivers as we keep building a stronger, fairer economy that leaves no one behind,” the president said in a statement that accompanied the budget request.
Responding to nearly 43,000 highway fatalities reported in 2021, the president’s budget would dedicate more than $1.3 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That agency is tasked with promoting safety across transportation corridors. Specific to supply chain connectivity, the budget would dedicate $230 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program. The request for port connectivity improvements would be in addition to funding authorized in 2021’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The budget also proposes $14 billion in grants for transit operations, $1.5 billion for rail safety programs and $1.2 billion in grants for big-ticket infrastructure projects.
Overall, the White House would increase funding for transportation programs by requesting for the department $27.8 billion in discretionary authority and $80.3 billion in contract authority and obligation limitations.
Join me in Philadelphia as I deliver remarks on what I value with my 2024 budget. https://t.co/e7YUiK4Jfo — President Biden (@POTUS) March 9, 2023
“This year’s budget comes at a critical moment for our country and a time when the president’s economic strategy is working,” Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young said March 9. “The economy has added 12 million jobs. The unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level in more than 50 years. And we just had the two strongest years for new small-business applications on record.”
Per background from the White House, the fiscal 2024 request “continues to complement and support the president’s historic bipartisan infrastructure law, which would strengthen the nation’s transportation system by tackling large infrastructure projects; improving roadway and pedestrian safety; providing more resilient and sustainable transportation options; expanding the nation’s capacity to move goods quickly and helping communities address critical transportation challenges.”
Notwithstanding support from senior Democrats on Capitol Hill, the budget document has an arduous road toward enactment. Republican leaders have expressed their opposition to the president’s funding request, pledging to oppose it in both chambers.
“President Joe Biden’s budget is a reckless proposal doubling down on the same far-left spending policies that have led to record inflation and our current debt crisis,” Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said in a joint statement March 9.
The GOP leaders took aim at the country’s debt obligations.
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“We must cut wasteful government spending. Our debt is one of the greatest threats to America, and the time to address this crisis is now,” they said. “Yet, President Biden is proposing out-of-control spending and delaying debt negotiations, following his pattern of shrugging and ignoring when faced with a crisis.”
On the other side of the Capitol, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a member of his caucus’ leadership team, argued the budget “reveals how out of touch [Biden] is with families in Wyoming and across the country. This president wants to raise taxes on hardworking families so he can fund his reckless, radical spending.”
He added, “Democrats’ reckless spending spree sent costs to a 40-year high. Record-high prices for gas and groceries have made it harder for families to keep up. Now, Joe Biden wants to spend even more. Instead of lowering costs, the president is raising taxes.”
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