The Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee has approved a bill including $16.9 billion in discretionary appropriations for fiscal year 2017 for the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is $1.7 billion less than fiscal year 2016 and $2.5 billion less than President Obama’s budget request.
The approval is part of a larger $56.5 billion measure, the FY2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act, that includes the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and related agencies.
The full Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill April 21.
“Through considerable negotiation and compromise, this bipartisan bill makes important investments in our nation’s infrastructure, helps meet the housing needs of the most vulnerable among us, and provides funding for economic development projects that create jobs in our communities,” says U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), chair of the subcommittee. “This legislation assists families in need, funds grants to help reduce homelessness, increases the safety of our nation’s highways and airspace, and supports transportation infrastructure and community development projects that will help grow our economy.”
USDOT will get $16.9 billion in discretionary appropriations, which allows funding to be prioritized on programs that “make transportation systems safe, efficient, and reliable.”
The bill allows for $44 billion for the Highway Trust Fund “consistent with the recently-enacted surface transportation authorization bill, the FAST Act.” It also allows state departments of transportation to “repurpose old, unused earmarks for more important infrastructure projects.”
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program is getting a boost of $25 million to $525 million under the bill. This would be the eighth round of funding for the program.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also would receive $891 million that includes funding for autonomous vehicle research.