House Funding Panel to Consider Transportation Bill July 11

Legislation that would keep the federal transportation agencies funded through fiscal 2018 will be considered on July 11, the House panel holding the hearing recently announced.

The Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee will determine whether to slash passenger rail and public transit programs as well as infrastructure grants under the Trump administration’s $16.2 billion discretionary spending budget request for the U.S. Department of Transportation. That is 12.4% below the enacted fiscal 2017 level.

Under the request, funding for truck safety grants would increase.

At a hearing the subcommittee held in June, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao focused on the administration’s proposed $1 trillion, 10-year infrastructure funding plan. She told appropriators her team is considering every option for backing $200 billion in the proposal to pave the way for $800 billion in private investments.

“At this point, suffice it to say nothing is off the table,” Chao said. Representatives from rural districts claim if the White House relies on tolls to generate capital for projects, their roadways would not attract investors.

“I don’t want, frankly, the responsibility for these major infrastructure programs that the president talked about, and how he was going to create jobs, fall on the tax base of our local citizens,” Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the full committee’s ranking member, said at the hearing.