Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two of Congressman Tom Perriello's bills with unanimous bipartisan consent. The Surface Transportation Savings Act of 2010 (H.R. 5604), which passed 402-0, would rescind $106.8 million in unspent transportation funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. These funds are not available for use by these agencies in fiscal year 2010, and the savings achieved from this legislation will be used to reduce the national deficit.
"I'm glad to have brought together both parties on common-sense deficit reduction. My bill reclaims $107 million in transportation funds that agencies were not using in order to help pay down the national debt before Congress finds some new way to spend it. It's a small step, like keeping my office expenses under budget and blocking congressional pay raises, but at least a step in the right direction," said Perriello.
Specifically, the bill rescinds:
* $80,994,029 of amounts authorized for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's safety belt performance grants in FY 2010.
* $6,547,000 of amounts authorized for administrative and related operating expenses of NHTSA in FY 2010.
* $78,000 of amounts authorized for NHTSA to carry out the National Driver Register in FY 2010.
* $1,829,000 of amounts authorized for the NHTSA's highway safety research and development program in FY 2010.
* $17,394,000 of amounts authorized for the Federal Transit Administration's formula programs and bus grants in FY 2010.
The funds to be rescinded from NHTSA's safety belt performance grants program cannot be expended by the agency because only three states are expected to meet the eligibility criteria for the program. In other cases, the money targeted for rescission exceeds the appropriation for FY2010, and therefore cannot be expended. Rep. Perriello introduced the bill on June 25, 2010 along with Rep. Mark Schauer (D-MI).
The House of Representatives also passed Perriello's resolution, Supporting the Goals and Ideals of Railroad Retirement Day (H. Res. 1463), which will recognize this day on August 29, 2010.
"It is important to honor both the commitment and labor of the railroad industry workers. Without them, our country would not have experienced such success in westward expansion and in the growth of industry. Today, the railroad industry remains an important piece of our nation's transportation infrastructure, and it would not be able to run without the ongoing efforts of railroad workers. There are nearly 3,000 railroad retirees in Virginia's 5th district and we honor their years of hard work with this resolution," said Perriello.