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American Public Transportation Association

 Senate Committee Action on Transportation Appropriations Bill


June 8, 2018

 

Senate Committee Action on Transportation Appropriations Bill 

 

Yesterday (June 7), the full Senate Committee on Appropriations marked up S. 3023, the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations bill (and draft Committee report), which was approved by the THUD Subcommittee earlier this week. The full Committee approved the bill with a 31-0 vote, and adopted a manager's amendment package by unanimous consent (the bill and report linked to above include the approved amendment package).

 

The Senate THUD Appropriations bill, like the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018 (“2018 THUD Appropriations Act”) (P.L. 115-141, Division L), provides additional funding for public transportation, above the levels authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) (P.L. 114-94). The bill provides approximately $16.1 billion for public transportation and intercity passenger rail, including $13.6 billion for public transportation and $2.5 billion for intercity passenger rail grants. The total FY 2019 public transportation and intercity passenger rail funding levels are slightly less than the historic FY 2018 funding levels because intercity passenger rail grants receive less funding in the Senate bill. However, these total funding levels are $1.3 billion more than authorized by the FAST Act for FY 2019.

 

The House Committee on Appropriations approved its version of the THUD Appropriations bill on May 24. For more information on the House bill, please click here.

 

Call to Action


We strongly encourage you to contact Members of the Senate and urge them to support increased funding levels for public transportation and intercity passenger rail in the Senate THUD Appropriations bill. We urge Congress to identify additional resources to increase funding for these critical infrastructure investments in our nation’s bus and rail systems.

 

Public Transportation

 

The Senate THUD Appropriations bill provides $13.6 billion for public transportation, including both formula and competitive grants administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This funding level is $80 million more than the historic FY 2018 funding levels and $1 billion more than authorized by the FAST Act for FY 2019.

 

Similar to the 2018 THUD Appropriations Act, the bill provides additional funding above the FAST Act’s FY 2019 authorized levels for several APTA priorities, including: 

  • Bus and Bus Facilities Grants ($400 million)
    (including $209.1 million for formula grants, $161.4 million for competitive grants, and $29.5 for No and Low emissions competitive grants);
  • State of Good Repair Grants ($362 million); and
  • Capital Investment Grants (CIG) ($251 million). 

The Senate THUD Appropriations bill provides $2.55 billion for CIG projects, $1.55 billion more than the Administration’s request (which proposed no funding for new CIG projects). The bill provides funding for New Starts, Core Capacity, and Small Starts projects, as well as those hoping to participate in the Expedited Project Delivery for CIG Pilot Program. The Committee report directs the Secretary of Transportation to advance eligible projects as mandated by law.

 

Intercity Passenger Rail

 

The Senate THUD Appropriations bill provides $2.51 billion for intercity passenger rail grants administered by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). This funding level is $323 million less than the historic FY 2018 funding levels but is $232 million more than the amount authorized by the FAST Act for FY 2019. The bill also sets deadlines by which FRA should issue Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) for FY 2019 funding, as well as unawarded money from previous fiscal years, in an effort to get grant money to project sponsors as quickly as possible.

 

The bill provides $1.94 billion for Amtrak for FY 2019, including $1.3 billion for the National Network and $650 million for the Northeast Corridor. The bill also provides $300 million for the Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants, and $10 million for Restoration and Enhancement Grants.

 

In addition, the Senate THUD Appropriations bill provides $255 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grants. While none of the CRISI funds are specifically set aside for positive train control (PTC) implementation, commuter railroads are eligible to apply for any of the CRISI funding for PTC-related projects.

 

The Committee report accompanying the bill focuses heavily on PTC and the need to get available funding out expeditiously and to the projects most in need. The report also specifies that $10 million of the funds provided for FRA administrative expenses is for staff and contractors to aid and oversee PTC implementation. Lastly, the report directs FRA to submit a PTC report to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations by September 30, 2018. The report would include status updates, enforcement plans, the impacts on rail service for railroads not expected to meet the December 31, 2018 statutory requirements, and a plan for conducting reviews within applicable statutory time limits. However, based on historical experience, it is unlikely that the THUD Appropriations Act will become law prior to the PTC report deadline (September 30) identified in the Committee report.


TIGER/BUILD

 

The Senate THUD Appropriations bill provides $1 billion for TIGER/BUILD grants. The bill specifies that projects must be considered and awarded funding based solely on the selection criteria from the FY 2016 TIGER Notice of Funding Opportunity, and that neither the federal share nor an applicant’s ability to generate non-federal revenue may be used as selection criteria.

 

The following table provides specific information on the public transportation and intercity passenger rail funding provided in S. 3023, the FY 2019 Senate THUD Appropriations bill.

 

Programs

FY 2018
THUD Appropriations
Enacted
(P.L. 115-141)

FY 2019
FAST Act
Authorized
(P.L. 114-94)

FY 2019
House
THUD Appropriations
(H.R. ____)

FY 2019
Senate
THUD Appropriations
(S. 3023)

S. 3023
Increase/(Decrease) from FY 2018
THUD Appropriations 
Enacted

 
 

Public Transportation

 

Formula Programs

           

Urbanized Area Formula Grants

$4,726,907,174

$4,827,117,606

$4,977,117,606

$4,827,117,606

$100,210,432

 

State of Good Repair Formula Grants

2,993,703,558

2,638,366,859

2,838,366,859

3,000,366,859

6,663,301

 

Rural Area Formula Grants

645,634,578

659,322,031

709,322,031

659,322,031

13,687,453

 

Growing States/High-Density States 
Formula Grants

582,783,547

561,315,120

611,315,120

591,315,120

8,531,573

 

Growing State Apportionments

286,132,747

293,311,066

293,311,066

293,311,066

7,178,319

 

High-Density State Apportionments

296,650,800

268,004,054

318,004,054

298,004,054

1,353,254

 

Bus and Bus Facilities Formula Grants

654,623,476

454,964,489

454,964,489

664,068,489

9,445,013

 

Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities 
Formula Grants

273,840,764

279,646,188

279,646,188

279,646,188

5,805,424

 

Planning Formula Grants

136,200,310

139,087,757

139,087,757

139,087,757

2,887,447

 

Competitive Programs

           

Capital Investment Grants

$2,644,960,000

$2,301,785,760

$2,613,650,000

$2,552,687,000

($92,273,000)

 

Bus and Bus Facilities Competitive Grants

492,410,000

322,059,980

672,059,980

512,955,980

20,545,980

 

No and Low Emission Bus Competitive Grant Program

84,450,000

55,000,000

105,000,000

84,450,000

0

 

Transit-Oriented Development Pilot Program

10,000,000

10,000,000

10,000,000

10,000,000

0

 

Technical Assistance and Workforce Development

14,000,000

14,000,000

14,000,000

14,000,000

0

 

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

150,000,000

150,000,000

150,000,000

150,000,000

0

 

Administrative Expenses and Other Programs

155,415,000

173,516,543

151,665,000

159,665,000

4,250,000

 

Public Transportation Total

 $13,480,478,407

$12,531,182,333

$13,621,195,030

$13,560,232,030

 $79,753,623   

 

Intercity Passenger Rail

 

Amtrak Grants

$1,941,600,000

$1,700,000,000

$1,941,600,000

$1,941,600,000

$0

 

Northeast Corridor Amtrak Grants

650,000,000

557,000,000

650,000,000

650,000,000

0

 

National Network Amtrak Grants

1,291,600,000

1,143,000,000

1,291,600,000

1,291,600,000

0

 

CRISI Grants

592,547,000

255,000,000

300,000,000

255,000,000

(337,547,000)

 

Positive Train Control CRISI Grants (including Commuter Rail)

250,000,000

0

150,000,000

0

(250,000,000)

 

Federal-State Partnership for 
State of Good Repair

250,000,000

300,000,000

500,000,000

300,000,000

50,000,000

 

Restoration and Enhancement Grants

20,000,000

20,000,000

0

10,000,000

(10,000,000)

 

RRIF Credit Subsidy

25,000,000

0

0

0

(25,000,000)

 

Maglev Technology Deployment Program

0

0

150,000,000

0

0

 

Intercity Passenger Rail Total

$2,829,147,000

$2,275,000,000

$2,891,600,000

$2,506,600,000

($322,547,000) 

 

Public Transportation and 
Intercity Passenger Rail
Grand Total

$16,309,625,407

$14,806,182,333

$16,512,795,030

$16,066,832,030

($242,793,377) 

 

 

House of Representatives Passes Rescissions Package

Yesterday (June 7), the House passed H.R. 3, the “Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act”, by a vote of 210-206. This bill is essentially an amended version of the Administration’s rescissions proposal announced in a previous Legislative Alert. Since the initial release, the Administration has worked with House Republicans on the bill to gain more support for the package. The amended bill eliminated several rescissions, including Federal Highway Administration rescissions which were eliminated for technical congressional budget and procedural reasons.​


H.R. 3 rescinds $100 million of prior-year public transit formula grants and intercity passenger rail competitive grants. APTA recommends that, instead of rescinding funds for public transportation and intercity passenger rail, these funds should be used to address the current $90 billion state-of-good-repair backlog for bus and rail systems.

The rescissions include the following public transit and intercity passenger rail budget accounts:

  • Federal Transit Administration:

Formula Grants

$46,560,000 (Rescission proposal no. R18-32)

This proposal rescinds $47 million in FTA formula funds provided in FY 2005 and prior years.


This rescission is included in the Senate THUD Appropriations bill and is consistent with APTA’s recommendation to reallocate these funds and use them to address public transportation needs.

  • Federal Railroad Administration:
Capital Assistance for High Speed Rail Corridors
and Intercity Passenger Rail Service
$53,404,128 (Rescission proposal no. R18-31)
This proposal rescinds $53 million in FY 2010 funding, including $47 million for the Chicago to Iowa City intercity passenger rail project. 

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration, however, no vote has been scheduled yet. It is important to note that the Senate must consider the bill by approximately June 22 before it loses its special procedural status that allows a simple majority to approve the bill.
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