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American Public Transportation Association

 House Appropriations Subcommittee Approves Transportation Appropriations Bill

6/19/2013

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Earlier today, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) approved the THUD Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 by voice vote. The bill is expected to go to the full House Appropriations Committee on June 27, although that date could change.

Faced this year with a reduced discretionary budget allocation of $ 44.1 billion (the FY 2013 THUD allocation was $51.6), THUD Subcommittee Chairman Latham (IA-3) faced significant challenges, but the subcommittee’s bill does fully fund the transit formula programs and the federal-aid highway program, both of which are funded from the Highway Trust Fund, at the MAP-21 authorized levels. The bill would set transit programs funded from the general fund at levels below authorized amounts. It funds Capital Investment Grants at $1.816 billion, $91 million below the authorized level of $1.907 billion. The Federal Transit Administration’s administrative budget is also below the authorized level of $104 million, at $102.7 million. Specific General Fund appropriations are also included for transit research, including $4 million for the TCRP program, $4 million for technical assistance and standards, and $2 million for human resources and training.

The measure rescinds funds from 2010 and prior years that were appropriated for the bus and bus facilities program, as well as funds appropriated to carry out new starts in 2006 and prior years. It also includes language prohibiting the use of funds to enter into new full funding grant agreements for new starts projects with a federal share of more than 50 percent.

DOT’s TIGER discretionary grant program received no FY 2014 funding under the House subcommittee bill, and the program's prior year unobligated balance totaling $237 million was rescinded. As it has done in each of the past several years, the Senate is expected to include substantial funding for the TIGER grant program in its own THUD Appropriations bill. Funding for Amtrak, both operations ($350 million) and capital/debt service ($600), was significantly reduced compared to prior year appropriations. The bill also includes a controversial prohibition on the use of any appropriated funds for the California high-speed rail program.

Members on both sides of the aisle decried the limitations placed on Appropriators by the current budget situation, but generally agreed this bill was an acceptable compromise, given the limitations. While this appropriations bill passed through the subcommittee with no amendments, changes could still be made when the bill is taken up by the full House Appropriations Committee. 

 

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act

Transit Funding Levels (Dollars)

FY 2013 Final Appropriation (Millions)

FY 2104 Authorization (Millions)

FY 2014 House Appropriation Subcommittee Proposal (Millions)

Total All MAP-21 Programs (excludes § 5324)

10,455.3

10,695.0

10,543.4

Programs Funded from the Highway Trust Fund

Formula Programs Total

8,461.0

8,595.0

8,595.0

§ 20005(b) Pilot Program for Transit Oriented Development Planning

10.0

§ 5305 Planning

128.8

§ 5307 Urbanized Area Subtotal

4,458.6

§ 5310 Elderly and Disabled

258.3

§ 5311 Rural Area Subtotal

607.8

Basic Rural Formula

545.6

§ 5311(b)(3) RTAP

12.2

§ 5311(c)(1) Public Transportation on Indian Reservations

30.0

§ 5311(c)(2) Appalachian Development Public Transportation Assistance

20.0

§ 5318 Bus Testing Facility

3.0

§ 5322(d) National Transit Institute

5.0

§ 5335 National Transit Database

3.8

§ 5337 State of Good Repair

2,165.9

§ 5339 Bus and Bus Facilities Formula

427.8

§ 5340 Growing States and High Density States

525.9

Programs Funded from General Funds

General Funds Programs Total (excludes § 5324)

1,994.2

2,100.0

1,948.4

§ 5309(m)(2)(C) New Starts Total

1,855.0

1,907.0

1,815.7

§ 5312 Research, Development Demonstration and Deployment

41.7

70.0

20.0

§ 5313(a) TCRP

7.0

4.0

§ 5314 Technical Assistance and Standards Development

7.0

4.0

§ 5324 Emergency Relief Program

10,329.9

ssaan

§ 5334 FTA Administration

97.5

104.0

102.7

§ 5322 (a),(b),(c),(e) Human Resources and Training

5.0

2.0

Separately Authorized Programs

WMATA

142.2

150.0

125.0

Total All Authorization Programs

Total MAP-21 Plus WMATA (excludes § 5324)

10,597.5

10,845.0

10,668.4

APTA Testifies Before Senate Commerce Committee

Today also saw APTA Executive Vice President for Members Services, Kathryn Waters, testifying before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. Senate Commerce convened a hearing on passenger and freight rail safety and invited APTA to testify on behalf of the industry.

Ms. Waters emphatically reiterated that the number one priority of our nation’s commuter railroads is passenger and employee safety, but also expressed concern to the Committee on a variety of issues related to PTC implementation. APTA cited the ability of railroads to acquire the necessary spectrum for communication, the difficulty in perfecting the technology, and the financial costs associated with all aspects of implementation as challenges to implementation by the statutory deadline. Commuter railroads remain one of the safest ways to travel in the United States, and the industry is always striving to improve safety. However, given the overwhelming costs associated with PTC, APTA and the industry continue to ask that Congress push the deadline for PTC implementation from 2015 to 2018. Read all of Ms. Water’s prepared testimony here.

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