Thursday, May 22, 2014

House committee approves bill with reduced 2015 transportation budget

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The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill on May 21 with a vote of 28-21.

 

The legislation includes funding for the Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies. USDOT's 2015 budget approved by the committee is $17.1 billion, $727 million below 2014 funding levels.

Overall, the bill allocates $52 billion in discretionary spending, but once the decline in Federal Housing Administration receipts are factored in, the bill reflects a $1.8-billion decrease versus current funding levels and $7.8-billion below the administration's request.

"This bill focuses funding on the infrastructure that grows the American economy and on the housing options that protect our most vulnerable citizens. These investments are important to our economic growth, important to the safety of our citizens, and important to those people who might worry about whether or not they will have a roof over their heads tomorrow," Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said. "But, we also must be mindful of the spending of each tax dollar – this bill strikes a fine balance between fiscal restraint and careful investment in our nation's transportation infrastructure and economic well-being."

The Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration FY15 budgets are both reduced from current funding levels, while rail safety and research programs are funded at $220.5 million, $750,000 over the fiscal year 2014 enacted level to fund inspectors and training.

The bill cuts the seventh round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants by $500 million, allocating only $100 million, which is $1.15-billion below the administration's request. USDOT said last week that for the sixth round of TIGER funds, it received 797 eligible applications requesting $9.5 billion, 15 times the $600 million set aside for the program for FY14.

The bill now moves to the House floor for a vote. However, according to a report on Politico.com, it is unclear when the vote will be taking place.

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