Funding Leaders Eye FY24 Bills’ Finalization
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Leaders in the House and Senate aim to finalize legislation that would fund the Department of Transportation during fiscal 2024.
On July 20, a Senate panel advanced a bill that would dedicate $98.9 billion for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The measure now awaits a vote in the chamber.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, said, “This is a strong bipartisan bill that makes critical investments to address the shortage of air traffic controllers and reduce flight delays, improve rail safety after recent, deeply concerning derailments and continue investing in the infrastructure that helps Americans get to where they need to be.”
“Our bill directly addresses America’s housing crisis by protecting affordable housing and homeless assistance programs that will help nearly 10 million people,” added Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies. “It also includes [a] record level of investment in Native housing and maintains funding to improve public transit, airports, railways and roads across the country.”
According to a summary the committee provided, the Senate bill would dedicate $16.8 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $3.4 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration and $20.2 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration.
On the other side of the Capitol, the House Appropriations Committee on July 18 approved its fiscal 2024 transportation bill. Its floor consideration has yet to be scheduled.
The bill would dedicate $90.2 billion for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. For the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it would provide $891.3 million. Specific to trucking policy, the House legislation prohibits requirements linked to inward-facing cameras on commercial motor vehicles.
Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) touted the Republican-led legislative effort.
“This bill is another example of the real progress we are making to reduce overall spending while funding our highest priorities,” she said. “The bill before us today refocuses spending on programs that support affordable housing and safe, effective transportation systems.”
“Instead of giving the administration more grant funding to spend, this bill gets us back to funding core missions. This bill responsibly funds critical transportation infrastructure to ensure our roads, railways, and air traffic control systems are safe and reliable,” Granger added.
Granger (left) and Cole are part of the Republican-led effort in the House. “This bill is another example of the real progress we are making to reduce overall spending while funding our highest priorities,” she said. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the transportation funding subcommittee, observed, “We prioritize transportation safety — on our railways, roads and airways. And we ensure a responsible safety net with housing support for our most vulnerable citizens — especially the elderly, the disabled, veterans, and the working poor.”
“Transportation safety is our highest priority for DOT,” he said.
Compared with fiscal 2023, the House bill would increase funding levels by nearly $3 billion. It is, however, nearly 9% less than the White House’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year.
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Overall, the House bill would provide $62 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, $19.5 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, $14.6 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $1.4 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration and $1.2 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
At a hearing in the House earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urged lawmakers to support the White House’s budget request for fiscal 2024. The president proposed nearly $1 billion for FMCSA.
“Our transportation system is at a turning point,” the secretary said. “We are finally in the process of renewing its physical foundations, but we are also grappling with serious vulnerabilities — especially in areas where federal oversight and regulation have been undermined — which pose very real dangers to workers, families and communities.”
Fiscal-year funding authority for federal agencies requires renewal by Oct. 1 to avert a partial government shutdown.
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