Transportation Update from Capitol Hill

capitolhillUpdate as of 7/28/17:

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously backed legislation that would provide nearly $19.5 billion in discretionary funding for the DOT in fiscal 2018 — which is $978 million above current level.

The Senate bill also would provide $550 million for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program, which would be a $50 million increase. The legislation would also provide $2.1 billion for the Capital Investment Grant transit program.

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The House Transportation/HUD Appropriations (THUD) subcommittee considered FY 2018 spending for DOT and HUD programs several weeks ago. This subcommittee action sets the stage for next year’s federal spending on these programs. The subcommittee passed a measure that would guarantees FAST Act transit spending levels, eliminates the TIGER grant program, reduces investment through the New Starts program and largely retains funding for Amtrak.

On July 17, the House Appropriations Committee marked up the FY 2018 transportation funding bill, after adopting only one amendment to the base bill. The full committee approved the bill by a vote of 31 to 20. It is unclear when the bill will go to the House Floor, or whether it would go to the full House as a stand-alone bill or as part of an omnibus appropriations measure.

The bill provides a total of $11.752 billion in FY 2018 for programs administered by FTA. Within the total, the bill fully funds FAST Act formula programs supported by the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund. It also includes $111 million for FTA administration and $5 million for FTA technical assistance. The House bill does not include funding for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program that was funded at $500 million in FY 2017.

Within the total for FTA, the bill sets funding for the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program at $1.753 billion, $549 million below the amount authorized in the FAST Act. The measure sets specific funding levels for New Starts, Small Starts and core projects.

FTA Transit Bus program

On July 12, the Federal Transit Administration opened applications for $226.5 million in investment for buses and bus facilities. Completed applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on August 25, 2017.  According to DOT’s most recent Conditions & Performance Report, public transit providers nationwide face a maintenance backlog of nearly $90 billion, including 10,000 buses estimated to be in poor or marginal condition.

All transit providers in Missouri should submit applications documenting their full need for bus replacement and transit facilities. This will allow FTA to document the total level of need for bus and facilities capital.  Apply here. https://www.transit.dot.gov/busgrants