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June 20, 2019 3:15 PM, EDT

House Kicks Off Debate on Fiscal 2020 Transportation Funding Bill

Amtrak train Amtrak would receive $2 billion under the House funding measure. (Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg)

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A fiscal 2020 transportation funding measure that proposes additional funding for infrastructure grants is included in a five-bill package that began receiving consideration on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on June 20.

Lawmakers scheduled consideration of several amendments. Such amendments would increase funding for multimodal safety projects in urban regions, as well as efforts designed to facilitate the installment of automatic braking systems on railroads.

For grants that would help advance major projects across metropolitan regions, the bill would provide the U.S. Department of Transportation with $1 billion.

Besides transportation programs, the measure would dedicate funding for fiscal 2020 for programs at the departments of Commerce, Interior, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The measure’s sponsors anticipate advancing the legislation to the Senate before the end of the month.

Nita Lowey

Lowey

“This legislation invests in America’s infrastructure. It would provide billions for the roads, highways and transit systems of tomorrow,” said Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.). “It would expand programs that ensure every community has clean and safe drinking water. And it would help bring the promise of broadband to more rural communities.”

Senators have yet to unveil companion legislation.

Overall, DOT would receive $86.6 billion under the bill, an increase from President Donald Trump’s request. It would amount to $167 million more than the 2019 enacted level.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates trucking and bus operations nationwide, would receive $677 million, $10 million above the 2019 enacted level. The Federal Highway Administration would receive $48.9 billion, which is $1.7 billion above the president’s request and $404 million below the 2019 enacted level.

Additionally, the Federal Railroad Administration would receive $3 billion,which is $877 million above the president’s request and $96 million more than the 2019 enacted level. And, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would receive $1 billion, which is $81 million above the president’s request and $44 million more than the 2019 enacted level.

Amtrak would receive $2 billion, highway infrastructure programs would receive $1.75 billion, and the Port Infrastructure Development Program would receive $225 million.

Several of the trucking-centric provisions tucked in the bill include requiring FMCSA to publicly post online analyses of violations under its Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, as well as denying funding for the agency’s review of an industry concern regarding state meal-and-rest-break laws. Also, FMCSA would be required to proceed with annual inspections of rear underride guards.