The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2013 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 $51.6 billion in discretionary spending -- a reduction of $3.9 billion below last year's level and $1.9 billion below the President's budget request.
"Making smart investments in the nation's transportation infrastructure is one of the best ways to help provide an environment for American businesses to create jobs and economic growth. This bill targets taxpayer dollars where they can be best used to improve the reliability, safety, and efficiency of our transportation systems, while also holding the line on spending to help reduce the nation's growing deficits," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
"This bill also funds important housing programs at responsible levels for Americans that need them, while scrubbing the HUD budget to find and eliminate excess, wasteful, or unnecessary spending," Rogers continued.
Subcommittee Chairman Tom Latham added, "This legislation continues my goal and dedicated work of ending the budgeting gimmicks and accounting tricks that have plagued Washington in recent years. I'm proud that we meet our nation's transportation and housing needs while remaining fiscally responsible and accountable to hardworking American taxpayers. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress as we move this bill through the legislative process."
Transportation -- The bill includes $17.6 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2013. This is $69 million below last year's level and $2 billion below the President's request.
Highways -- The bill provides $39.1 billion from the Highway Trust Fund to be spent on the Federal Highway program -- the same level provided last year and $2.7 billion below the President's request. The highway program still requires reauthorization, and the funding level provided in the bill may change upon the enactment of a highway authorization bill for the next fiscal year. The Committee is prepared to support a differing Highway Trust Fund spending level, should a new, multi-year authorization bill be enacted. The bill does not contain a rescission of highway contract authority from the states.
Air -- Included in the legislation is $12.6 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), $91 million above last year's level. The bill provides nearly $1 billion for the FAA's Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) -- allowing the FAA to move forward with the next step in modernizing the nation's air control and airport system. The bill also supports operations and staffing, which will help ease congestion and reduce delays for travelers in U.S. airspace. The bill also rejects the Administration's proposals for new aviation fees.
Rail -- The Federal Railroad Administration is funded at $2 billion, which is $384 million above last year's level and $716 million below the President's request. Of this amount, $1.8 billion is targeted to Amtrak, primarily for capital improvements to the nation's rail lines. Within the funds for Amtrak, the bill includes $500 million in grant funding to build and maintain rail bridges and tunnels in local communities, and rescinds funding for high-speed rail service.
The bill also includes policy reforms for Amtrak that have been enacted in previous years, 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.
Transit -- The bill contains a total of $2 billion for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is $181 million below last year's level and $546 million below the President's request. The legislation also allows $8.4 billion in state and local transit grant funding from the Mass Transit Account (of the Highway Trust Fund) for fiscal year 2013, subject to reauthorization, the same as last year's level. Like the highway program, the transit program still requires reauthorization to operate beyond September 2012, and the Committee is prepared to support a differing spending level, should a new, multi-year authorization bill be enacted.
The legislation provides a total of $1.8 billion for Capital Investment Grants ("New Starts") for transit projects. This includes full funding for state and local "Small Starts," and funding for all current "Full Funding Grant Agreement" projects.
Maritime -- The legislation includes $338 million for the Maritime Administration, a decrease of $12 million below last year's level and $7 million 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 $776 million in both mandatory and discretionary funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) -- a decrease of $23.8 million below last year; $551 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration -- a decrease of $2.6 million below last year; and $177 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration -- an increase of $4 million above last year.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) -- The legislation includes a total of $33.6 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a decrease of $3.8 billion below last year's level. 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 $26.3 billion for Public and Indian Housing. This is an increase of $759 million above last year's level and $250 million below the President's request. Within this total, the bill provides funding to renew benefits for every eligible individual and family currently receiving assistance, and ensures that no critical benefits are eliminated or cancelled. The bill also fully funds the President's request for Veterans housing at $75 million, and Native American Block Grants at $650 million. The legislation provides no funding for the "Choice Neighborhoods" program.
Housing programs within the bill are funded at $9.3 billion -- a reduction of $361 million below last year's level and $49 million below the request. Within this total, the bill provides sufficient funding for the most vulnerable populations, including $165 million for housing for the disabled -- an increase of $15 million over last year -- and $425 million for housing for the elderly -- an increase of $50 million above last year.
Community Planning and Development -- The bill contains $7 billion for Community Planning and Development programs -- an increase of $299 million above last year's level.
The Community Development Block Grant program is funded at $3.3 billion -- an increase of $396 million above last year's level. The bill also provides targeted funding increases to programs such as homeless assistance grants ($99 million above last year's level), and the HOME investment partnerships program ($200 million above last year's level). No funds are provided for "sustainable" community grants.
For the subcommittee draft text of the legislation, please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-112HR-SC-AP-FY13-THUD.pdf