The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation includes funding for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies.
In total, the bill provides $44.1 billion in discretionary spending -- a reduction of $7.7 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $13.9 billion below the President's budget request. This level is approximately $4.4 billion below the level caused by automatic sequestration cuts for these programs.
"This bill is an example of the current budgetary trade-offs facing our nation -- the need to make deep cuts to meet our fiscal constraints and address the deficit, while maintaining funding for important government programs and services. This legislation reflects this dual goal, making the best use of limited tax dollars by focusing investments on transportation infrastructure critical to our economy and maintaining housing options for our most vulnerable citizens, while reducing or eliminating funding for lower-priority programs," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
Subcommittee Chairman Tom Latham added, "This appropriations process has continued to show that we can act in a bipartisan fashion to fund our most vital programs with the need to reduce the deficit in mind and limited resources at our disposal. Although the nation is operating under tight budget constraints, we still have produced a sound bill that meets our highest transportation and housing priorities in a fiscally responsible way. I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this legislation forward in an open legislative process."
The bill targets and prioritizes funding for critical transportation projects and programs that are essential to the nation's economic growth, efficient commerce, and the quality of life of American families, and for programs that support the housing needs of our most vulnerable citizens. The legislation balances these needs with reductions in lower-priority programs or unnecessary spending, including cuts to various programs within the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Transportation.
Transportation -- The bill includes $15.3 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2014. This is $2.6 billion (-15%) below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $7.4 billion below the President's request.
Safety -- The legislation contains funding for the various transportation safety programs and agencies within the Department of Transportation. This includes $828 million in both mandatory and discretionary funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), an increase of $7.5 million over the fiscal year 2013 enacted level; and $572 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an increase of $11 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. Also included is a $231,000 increase over the fiscal year 2013 level for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, due to the need for additional funds under the newly authorized Pipeline Safety Design Review Fund.
Highways -- The bill provides nearly $41 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal Highway program -- the same level authorized in the MAP-21 transportation authorization legislation, which expires on September 30, 2014. This is an increase of $557 million from the fiscal year 2013 level.
Air -- Included in the legislation is $11.8 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $756 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $103.3 million below the level caused by automatic sequestration cuts. This funding will help keep the air traffic control system fully operational and avoid the need for furloughs of essential air-traffic control personnel. The bill preserves funding for the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation Systems (NextGen) that are under current deployment. These investments will help ease future congestion and reduce delays for travelers in U.S. airspace. The bill rejects the Administration's proposals for new passenger facility fees.
Rail -- The Federal Railroad Administration is funded at $1.16 billion, a reduction of $468 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. The bill also includes policy reforms for Amtrak to ensure the best use of tax dollars, such as requiring overtime limits on Amtrak employees to reduce unnecessary costs, and prohibiting federal funding for routes where Amtrak offers a discount of 50% or more off normal, peak fares. No funding is provided for High Speed Rail.
In addition, rail safety programs, including safety inspectors, are fully funded in the bill at $184.5 million to help ensure the safety of the thousands of passengers that use commuter, regional, and long-distance rail every day.
Transit -- The bill contains a total of nearly $2 billion for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is $329.7 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. The legislation also allows $8.6 billion in state and local transit grant funding from the Mass Transit Account (of the Highway Trust Fund), consistent with MAP-21, to help local communities build, maintain, and ensure the safety of their mass transit systems.
The legislation provides a total of $1.82 billion for Capital Investment Grants ("New Starts"), full funding for state and local "Small Starts," and funding for all current "Full Funding Grant Agreement" projects. These programs provide competitive grant funding for major transit capital investments, including rapid rail, light rail, bus rapid transit, and commuter rail, that are planned and operated by local communities.
Maritime -- The legislation includes $326 million for the Maritime Administration, a decrease of $25 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. The bill will help promote U.S. commerce by providing funding to ensure the efficiency and safety of the nation's ports and inter-modal water and land transportation.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) -- The legislation includes a total of $28.5 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a decrease of $5 billion (-15%) below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $3 billion below the level caused by sequestration. The bill does not contain funding for any new, unauthorized "sustainable," "livable," or "green" community development programs.
Section 8 and Public Housing -- Included in the bill is $24.9 billion for Public and Indian Housing. This is a decrease of $953 million below last year's level and $2.8 billion below the President's request. Within this total, the bill provides funding to continue assistance to all families anticipated to hold vouchers at the beginning of fiscal year 2014. The bill also fully funds the President's request for veterans' housing vouchers at $75 million. The legislation provides no funding for the "Choice Neighborhoods" program.
Other housing programs within the bill are funded at $9.6 billion -- a reduction of $324 million below last year's level and $1.3 billion below the President's request. Within this total, the bill provides $126 million for housing for the disabled and $374.6 million for housing for the elderly -- the same levels as the President's request.
Community Planning and Development -- The bill contains $4.8 billion for Community Planning and Development programs -- a cut of $1.9 billion below last year's level and $1.6 billion below the level caused by sequestration. The Community Development Block Grant formula program is funded at $1.6 billion -- a decrease of $1.3 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.
For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY2014-TransHUD-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf