In a late night session last week, the Senate voted to advance a package of three FY 2012 Appropriations bills, including the appropriations bill for the Departments of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The vote on final passage is scheduled to occur on October 31. To avoid another government shutdown, Congress must act to pass this measure and an additional Continuing Resolution (CR) for all other federal programs prior to November 18th, when the current CR on FY 2012 Appropriations is set to expire. The transportation section of the Senate bill provides $10.6 billion for Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs, $100 million for High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail, and funds other programs above levels approved in the House of Representatives. For additional information on programs funded in the FY 2012 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill, please view APTA’s previous Legislative Alert on the subject.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Schedules Markup on Two Year Authorization Bill
The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee announced that it has scheduled a markup of the highway portion of a two-year surface transportation bill. On Wednesday, November 9th, the EPW Committee will markup Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), a bipartisan bill which authorizes federal aid highway programs at current levels, plus inflation, for the next two years. It is expected that the Senate Banking Committee, which authorizes FTA programs, will schedule a markup of their portion of the bill after EPW completes its work.
It is unclear at this point whether the Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for drafting the funding title of the bill, will act prior to the Senate EPW markup. In order to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent under the two-year Senate proposal, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) must identify at least $12 billion in offsets which can attract bipartisan support. Senate staff has indicated that these offsets are close to being identified and that Chairman Baucus is working to develop the bipartisan support needed to advance the Finance Committee portion of the two-year bill. This markup is a vital first step in securing the passage of a multi-year surface transportation authorization bill that preserves funding for transportation programs. The Senate committees with jurisdiction over the surface transportation authorization bill must markup their respective titles as soon as possible to ensure that this funding is not claimed for deficit reduction purposes.
Contact Senators on the Finance Committee to urge them to support Chairman Max Baucus’ effort to mark up the Finance title to the EPW two-year surface transportation authorization legislation.
- State that an immediate markup is necessary to ensure that offsets identified for critical transportation programs are not used for other purposes. These offsets are needed so that the Senate EPW and Banking Committees can fund a surface transportation bill.
- Remind your Senators that this bill will preserve federal transit and highway funding at current levels, which is important for transit programs and services in your community that rely on federal funding.
- Explain that a multi-year surface transportation bill must be enacted to carry out transportation infrastructure projects that will create and maintain jobs.
For questions on these issues, please contact Brian Tynan of APTA’s Government Affairs Department at (202) 496-4897, or firstname.lastname@example.org.