On September 19, the Senate Committee on Appropriations marked up S. 2520, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Act, 2020. The bill provides a total of $12.96 billion for public transportation, a reduction of $457 million from fiscal year (FY) 2019 enacted levels. Although the bill increases total funding for Buses and Bus Facilities, it reduces:
- Capital Investment Grants (CIG) by $575 million; and
- State of Good Repair grants by $178 million.
In addition, the Senate THUD bill does not include a provision to block the Rostenkowski Test, preventing an impending $1.2 billion cut to public transit formula funds in FY 2020. This 12 percent across-the-board cut will impact every public transit system across the country if triggered. A temporary provision blocking the Rostenkowski Test through November 21 is included in the Continuing Resolution (H.R. 4378) that the Senate is expected to pass this week.
CALL TO ACTION
We strongly encourage you to contact your Senators and urge them to fight for increased funding for public transportation as negotiations continue on THUD appropriations. In addition, please urge your Senators to block the Rostenkowski Test and prevent a 12 percent cut to all public transit agencies.
To contact your Senators, please call 202.224.3121 or click here.
APTA President and CEO Paul Skoutelas Testifies on Commuter Rail
On September 24, APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas testified before the House Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The hearing, entitled “Challenges and Opportunities for Commuter Railroads”, also featured the following witnesses: Jim Derwinski, CEO/Executive Director of Metra; Peter Rogoff, CEO of Sound Transit; and Stephanie Wiggins, CEO of Southern California Regional Rail Authority – Metrolink. At the hearing, APTA and the commuter railroads discussed Positive Train Control (PTC) implementation, grade-crossing safety, Capital Investment Grants (CIG), TIFIA loans, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) reauthorization, and commuter rail relationships with Amtrak and freight railroads. To view APTA’s testimony, please click here. To view other testimony and a video of the hearing, please click here.
Senate Appropriations Committee Report Includes Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Study
On September 17, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released the report to accompany S. ____, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Act, 2020. The committee report directs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to study the value of Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) before publishing a rule that would allow states to eliminate the benefit. The directive, found on page 251 of the report, states:
Non-Emergency Medical Transportation [NEMT].—Within the amount provided, the Committee provides $300,000 for MACPAC to examine, to the extent data are available, the benefits of NEMT from State Medicaid programs on Medicaid beneficiaries, including beneficiaries with chronic diseases including ESRD, substance abuse disorders, pregnant mothers, and patients living in remote, rural areas, and to examine the benefits of improving local coordination of NEMT with public transportation and other federally-assisted transportation services. The Committee directs HHS to take no regulatory action on availability of NEMT service until the study is completed.
On June 19, the House passed its Labor-HHS Appropriations bill (H.R. 2740), which included a provision to block the Department of Health and Human Services from moving forward with its proposed Medicaid NEMT regulation.
APTA has been a vocal supporter of this effort and has joined several Coalition letters urging Congress to preserve this vital NEMT benefit. To view the most recent NEMT Coalition letter, please click here.