USDOT $98.1 billion fiscal year 2017 budget includes clean transportation, autonomous vehicle pilot funds

Updated Feb 12, 2016

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced President Obama’s $98.1 billion fiscal year 2017 budget for the U.S. Department of Transportation, a plan that includes clean transportation and autonomous vehicle pilot programs in addition to other traditional programs.

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“Meeting future challenges will require a long-term vision for the transportation sector that includes more and cleaner options, and expands those options to communities across the country,” says Foxx.  “This budget brings us closer to that vision.”

Focus areas announced by Foxx include:

Invests in Clean, 21st Century Surface Transportation Options that Reflect America’s Changing Geography and Provide Access to Opportunity

Enhances clean transportation options for American families:  

Over a 10-year period, the Budget invests an average of nearly $20 billion per year in new investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and  provide new ways for families to get to work, to school, and to the store.

The Budget would expand transit systems in cities, fast-growing suburbs, and rural areas; make high-speed rail a viable alternative to flying in major regional corridors; modernize our freight system; and expand the successful Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program to support high-impact, innovative local projects.

Supports investment decisions towards a “21st Century Regions” approach that reflects a changing demographics and economy:  

Increasingly, Americans are choosing to live in metropolitan areas and megaregions that often cross State lines, yet the majority of Federal transportation funding flows via formula, through the States. This Budget balances that funding stream, by directing billions of dollars through regional governments, such as Metropolitan Planning Organizations, empowering them to play a stronger role in decision-making. Over a 10-year period, the Budget invests an average of $10 billion a year towards a series of new, innovative programs that improve the balance of funding and decision-making and will accelerate the move towards smarter, cleaner, and more integrated communities.

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Fully supports FAST-authorized funding levels for surface transportation programs, aimed at keeping the system safe and in a state of good repair.  

In addition to the proposed increases for surface programs, the Budget fully funds FAST Act levels for FY 2017, which include:  $44 billion to invest in the nation’s critical highway and bridge systems; nearly $10 billion to support operations of public transit systems across the Nation; roughly $730 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to research and develop new, life-saving technologies and programs; and over $640 million to support nationwide motor carrier safety through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Advances Public and Private Sector Collaboration to Accelerate Cost-Competitive, Low-Carbon Technologies and Intelligent Transportation Systems. 

Funds pilot deployments of safe and climate-smart autonomous vehicles to create better, faster, cleaner urban and corridor transportation networks:

To accelerate the development and adoption of autonomous vehicles, the Budget includes $3.9 billion over ten years for large-scale deployment pilots to develop a common multistate interoperability framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.

Continues the transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen):

The Budget requests a total of $1 billion to support NextGen. This includes $877 million for NextGen Capital investments, an increase of $22 million above FY 2016, to advance modernization efforts; enhance automation; implement  satellite-based surveillance capabilities; improve data communication practices and technology; and maximize traffic  flow.

Ensures Transportation Safety Keeps Pace with Changing Technology and Organizational Needs.

Integrates surface transportation technologies safely into the transportation system:  

High impact investments will support activities like NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), to test vehicle safety through state-of-the-art equipment such as human-like crash dummies.  The Budget invests an $35 million in FY 2017 for this integration.

Strengthens regulatory enforcement agencies across the Department through resources and organizational changes:  

Across the Department, agencies are taking action to strengthen the regulatory and enforcement capabilities that are key to protecting the safety of travelers and movement of goods. Investments would provide over $47 million for NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation to improve its effectiveness in identifying safety defects quickly, ensuring remedies are implemented promptly, and notifying the public of critical defects. The Budget’s $295 million request for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)  also includes proposed organizational changes to elevate the role of research and analysis in support of regulatory development and enforcement.

Supports rail safety through research and development and implementation of positive train control (PTC):  

The Budget includes $213 million to support the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA’s) rail safety and development programs, including implementation and enforcement of PTC, as well as related track and bridge safety activities, and another $53 million for additional safety research. This includes $12.5 million to analyze and demonstrate the safety and environmental benefits of Electronically Con­trolled Pneumatic brakes.

Protects our maritime interests:  

The Budget provides over $428 million for the Maritime Administration to implement programs that promote the economic competitiveness, efficiency, and productivity of U.S. Maritime transportation.

Investing in 21st Century Government and Project Delivery. 

Modernizes permitting and project delivery:

The Budget supports investments that ensure we are making 21st century investments through 21st century delivery mechanisms. The Budget expands the Administration’s progress to expedite permitting and approval processes while protecting safety and the environment.

Supports ongoing establishment of a National Surface Transportation and Innovative Finance Bureau:

Building on the Administration’s successful Build America Investment Initiative, the FAST Act created a new office to streamline and improve the application processes for credit programs, expedite project delivery, and promote innovative financing best practices. The Budget requests resources for implementation, as well as $275 million for the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Program, along with flexibility to also use resources from a range of new multi-modal programs to cover credit subsidy costs.

Protects cybersecurity and data integrity:  

The Budget includes $15 million to continue improvements to the Department’s cybersecurity. In addition, the Budget includes $4 million to assist the Department in meeting the requirements of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014.

The USDOT fiscal year budget documentation is available here.