The Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) Appropriations Subcommittee today approved its FY2020 appropriations bill with funding to advance transportation infrastructure development, housing assistance, and community development.
The $74.3 billion spending measure provides appropriations for the U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies. The bill is $3.2 billion above FY2019 enacted levels. The subcommittee recommendation targets funding toward improving our nation’s transportation and housing infrastructure, continuing to improve our air traffic control system and aircraft certification processes, and maintaining rental assistance and community development programs. The measure will be considered Thursday by the full Senate Appropriations Committee.
“Thanks to bipartisan cooperation on this Subcommittee, Senator Reed and I have drafted a bill that accommodates the priorities of many Members. We received input from 75 Senators with more than 950 requests, all of which we carefully evaluated,” said U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairman of the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
“This legislation will support job creation and economic development, allow us to make critical improvements to our infrastructure, provide housing assistance for low-income seniors and other vulnerable populations, and enhance oversight of the FAA’s aviation safety and aircraft certification programs,” she said.
The bill prioritizes funding for critical transportation projects, programs to encourage economic growth and efficiency, and core housing programs for the nation’s most vulnerable individuals.
Transportation –$86.6 billion in total budgetary resources for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for FY2020, which is $167 million above the FY2019 enacted level. The total funding for DOT includes $25.3 billion in discretionary appropriations and $61.3 billion in obligation limitations. Funding is prioritized for programs that improve the safety, reliability, and efficiency of the transportation system.
- BUILD Grants – $1 billion for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grants.
- Highways – $46.3 billion in obligation limitation from the Highway Trust Fund for the Federal-aid Highways Program, consistent with the FAST Act. In addition, the bill includes $2.7 billion discretionary appropriations for highway programs, of which $1.25 billion is for the Surface Transportation Block Grant funds and for the elimination of hazards at railway-highway grade crossings, and $1.25 billion is for bridge repairs in small states with high rates of bridges not in good condition. The bill also provides $100 million for the Appalachian Development Highway System and $100 million for the Nationally Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects grant program. The bill maintains flexibility for State Departments of Transportation to repurpose some stagnant project funding for current infrastructure projects.
- Aviation – $17.7 billion in total budgetary resources for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which fully funds all air traffic control personnel, including more than 14,000 air traffic controllers, and more than 25,000 engineers, maintenance technicians, safety inspectors, and operational support personnel. The bill fully funds the Essential Air Service program for all communities as well as the Contract Towers program.
- Aviation Safety: The bill increases funding for aviation safety by $31.8 million above the budget request, requires FAA to respond to all Inspector General and National Transportation Safety Board investigations and audits, and requires FAA to finalize its rulemaking on safety management systems for aircraft manufacturers.
- Rail – $2.8 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). This includes $2 billion to Amtrak for the Northeast Corridor and National Network, continuing service for all current routes. The bill also provides $255 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grants program, $300 million for Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair grants, and $2 million for Restoration and Enhancement grants.
- Transit – $13.0 billion for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). Transit formula grants total $10.1 billion, from the Mass Transit Account of the Highway Trust Fund, consistent with the FAST Act. In addition, $560 million is provided from the general fund for transit infrastructure grants. The bill provides a total of $1.978 billion for Capital Investment Grants (CIG), fully funding all current “Full Funding Grant Agreement” (FFGA) transit projects, as well as new projects that have met the criteria of the CIG program.
- Maritime – $904 million for the Maritime Administration to increase the productivity, efficiency, and safety of the nation’s ports and intermodal water and land transportation. This includes $300 million for the Maritime Security Program, $91.6 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program, and $300 million for the third National Security Multi-Mission Vessel. This training ship is essential for the State Maritime Academies to provide the nation with a strong merchant marine workforce.
- Safety – The legislation contains funding for the various transportation safety programs and agencies within the U.S. Department of Transportation. This includes $972 million in total budgetary resources for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and $679 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The bill continues to delay electronic logging device enforcement for livestock and insect haulers. The bill also includes $278 million for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to help address safety concerns related to recent pipeline and crude oil by rail accidents.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – $56.0 billion in total budgetary resources for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is offset by $7.4 billion in receipts from FHA/GNMA for a net funding level of $48.6 billion, and is an increase of $2.3 billion above the FY2019 enacted level.
- Rental Assistance – HUD rental assistance programs provide housing assistance for nearly 5 million vulnerable families and individuals. Of those receiving assistance, 57 percent are elderly or disabled. This bill provides necessary increases to continue assistance to all families and individuals currently served by these programs.
- Included in the bill is: $23.8 billion for tenant-based Section 8 vouchers; $7.5 billion for public housing; $12.6 billion for project-based Section 8 rental assistance; $696 million for Housing for the Elderly; and $184 million for Housing for Persons with Disabilities.
- Community Planning and Development – The Community Development Block Grant formula program is funded at $3.3 billion; $25 million for pilot program to help individuals in recovery from a substance abuse disorder become stably housed; the HOME program is funded at $1.3 billion; and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program is funded at $330 million.
- Emphasis on Homelessness – $2.8 billion for homeless assistance programs and the bill also includes several provisions to improve HUD’s delivery of housing and services to particularly vulnerable populations, including veterans, youth, and survivors of domestic violence. The bill includes $20 million for new family unification vouchers to prevent youth exiting foster care from becoming homeless. An additional $80 million is provided for grants and technical assistance to end youth homelessness in urban and rural areas. In addition, the bill provides $50 million for rapid rehousing assistance for victims of domestic violence, and $40 million for new HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers.
- Preventing Lead Hazards – $290 million to combat lead hazards, $11 million above the FY2019 enacted level. These grants will help communities protect children from the harmful effects of lead hazard poisoning.