House Funding Leaders Back $1.9 Billion USDOT Budget Increase

Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro by House Appropriations Committee/YouTube

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A new bill from U.S. House lawmakers meant to fund the Department of Transportation through fiscal 2022 would back an operational budget increase for federal trucking safety programs and ensure the distribution of infrastructure grants around the country.

As part of an appropriations bill approved by a House panel July 12, federal transportation and housing programs would receive $84.1 billion for the next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The total funding reflects an increase of $8.7 billion, or more than 11% than last year’s approved level. For USDOT, it would mean a $1.9 billion increase. (Text of the draft bill.)

House Democratic leaders, who plan to take the measure to the chamber’s floor this month, offered concerns about infrastructure networks nationwide. As Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) put it, “For far too long, our nation’s crumbling infrastructure has held America back. With this bill’s major new investments in transportation, including transit and rail, more than 125,000 new housing vouchers, and the modernization of public housing, we have made a long overdue investment in the future of America’s working families.”

Under the bill, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration operational budget would receive a slight increase. Specifically, FMCSA’s funding proposal in the House bill would include $379.5 million for its operations budget, and $506.2 million for safety grants.

Additionally, the Federal Highway Administration would receive $61.9 billion for programs funded via the Highway Trust Fund account. The funding is meant to enhance safety and long-term viability of surface transportation operations, the bill’s sponsors explained.

The legislation also would provide $18.9 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, which would be $896 million above the fiscal 2021 level. The Federal Railroad Administration would receive $4.1 billion, an increase of $1.3 billion above year 2021, and the Federal Transit Administration would receive $15.5 billion, an increase of $459 million above the fiscal 2021 level. Amtrak would receive $2.7 billion, $700 million more than the fiscal 2021 level.

For a USDOT program that distributes grants for infrastructure projects, titled Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE grants, House appropriators proposed $1.2 billion for fiscal 2022. The RAISE grants were formerly known as BUILD and TIGER grants.

On climate change, the legislation would dedicate about $250 million for emissions reduction programs, such as zero-emission buses. The legislation also would fund myriad severe-weather infrastructure resilience programs, as well as research and development projects for new technologies.

“Updating our nation’s aging infrastructure, including our housing stock, is central to our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Price (D-N.C.).


Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Price (D-N.C.) delivers opening remarks. (House Appropriations Committee/YouTube)

“This year’s Transportation-Housing and Urban Development funding bill is centered on building a more equitable future. It promotes housing stability by providing increased funding for rental assistance, expanding housing vouchers, and prioritizing safety in public housing,” Price added. “The bill nearly doubles passenger and freight rail investment, solidifying our commitment to more sustainable travel while focusing on climate resilience and mitigation. The fiscal year 2022 Transportation-Housing Appropriations bill puts us on the right track to a better future, and I look forward to continuing to build on this progress.”

House Republicans raised concerns about the bill’s funding proposals targeting certain social programs.

The bill next heads to full committee for markup. The Democratic leadership in the Senate has expressed interest in considering infrastructure-centric bills this summer. Senate funding leaders, however, have yet to schedule consideration of their fiscal 2022 transportation appropriations legislation.

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