The White House announced that President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will release his infrastructure plan at an event in Pittsburgh tomorrow (March 31). The plan is expected to propose approximately $3 trillion or more investment in our nation’s surface transportation, water, and other infrastructure, making it the most significant federal infrastructure investment in generations. In addition, on April 1, the Biden Administration is expected to release the discretionary accounts of the President’s Budget. After it is released, the Budget will be viewable on the White House website here. Given that much of public transit funding is considered mandatory spending, it is unclear how much information the President’s Budget will provide regarding his surface transportation proposal. APTA will provide additional information on the public transit and passenger rail components of the President’s infrastructure proposal and Budget after they are made available to the public.
FTA Releases American Rescue Plan Act Apportionments
Yesterday (March 29), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) posted apportionments for the $30.5 billion COVID-19 emergency funding for public transit in the American Rescue Plan Act. FTA will host a webinar about this funding on Friday, April 2, at 2:00 p.m. EDT to provide additional guidance to transit stakeholders. Please click here to view the FTA release and links to the apportionments.
House Committees Provide Further Information on Congressional Earmark Process
Both the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) and the House Committee on Appropriations have announced Congressional earmark processes for their respective bills. House Democrats and Republicans are expected to request earmarks. To date, neither Senate Democrats nor Republicans have outlined their processes for considering earmarks.
All earmark requests must originate from Members of Congress. If you are interested in a transit earmark, APTA encourages you to work directly with your Representatives as soon as possible to identify potential projects for inclusion in surface transportation legislation or the transportation appropriations bill. On Tuesday, April 6, at 3:00 p.m., APTA will host a Workshop for its members to further outline the Congressional earmark processes. We will send additional information regarding the Workshop as soon as it is available.
T&I Committee Congressional Earmark Process
The House T&I Committee will accept earmark requests from Representatives through April 16. There is no limit on the number of requests that a Representative may submit, but each Member of Congress must identify their top five priorities. Please click here to view a March 23 Dear Colleague letter addressing the basics of the Member Designated Project process or here for the instructional booklet made available to Congressional offices for use during the process.
THUD Appropriations Subcommittee Congressional Earmark Process
The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee will accept Congressional earmark requests (i.e., “Local Transportation Priorities”) through April 30. All projects must be capital projects or project-specific planning/design for a capital project, supported by a state or local government, and administered by public entities. Each member may only submit up to 10 community projects across all Appropriations subcommittees. Please click here to view THUD’s guidelines for Local Transportation Priorities or here for Member guidance and requirements on the submission process.
APTA Sends Letter Urging National Transportation Safety Board to Remove Positive Train Control from Most Wanted List of Safety Recommendations
On March 30, APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas sent a letter to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) requesting that it remove from its “Most Wanted” list of safety recommendations the requirement that commuter railroads fully implement Positive Train Control (PTC). After commuter rail agencies invested more than $4 billion to implement PTC, they successfully met the statutory deadline of December 31, 2020 for full PTC implementation. In addition to the $4 billion implementation cost, commuter rail operators will spend more than $100 million each year to maintain and operate the PTC system. Riding commuter rail is 18 times safer than driving an auto, and the commuter railroad’s monumental achievement of PTC certification will make commuter rail service even safer.
APTA, together with other associations, sent a Coalition letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen urging the U.S. Department of the Treasury to ensure that guidance on the American Rescue Plan Act’s $350 billion in relief funds for state and local governments and $10 billion in capital assistance explicitly defines transportation infrastructure as a qualifying eligibility.
APTA, together with other associations, sent a Coalition letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services requesting that it issue guidance to state Medicaid programs that includes non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) within the scope of the temporary increase to 100 percent in federal matching payments for administration of COVID-19 vaccines.