The Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee approved today a measure that would maintain federal highway investment at $40.3 billion in FY 2015 and boost transit spending to $11.1 billion (a $250 million increase from FY 2014).  With the Highway Trust Fund unable to support any new spending in FY 2015, Subcommittee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) reinforced the highway and transit investment levels included in this bill were contingent upon other Senate committees generating new revenues for the trust fund and advancing a surface transportation program reauthorization bill or short-term extension by October 1.  Under the plan, the transit Capital Investment Grant Program would receive a $220 million increase—representing almost the entire proposed boost in transit spending.  The measure would also increase Airport Improvement Program investment by $130 million to $3.5 billion.  The measure also includes a $50 million reduction for the Obama Administration’s TIGER Grant Program that funds a variety of intermodal transportation projects.

The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2015 transportation funding measure last month.  A comparison of the House and Senate proposals is below.

  FY 2014 House FY 2015 Senate FY 2015
Highways $40.3 B $40.3 B $40.3 B
Transit Formula $8.6 B $8.6 B $8.6 B
Transit Capital Grant $1.9 B $1.7 B $2.1 B
Airport Improvement Program $3.35 B $3.35 $3.48 B
TIGER Grants $600 M $100 M $550 M
Amtrak Capital Program $1.05 B $850 M $1.05 B

The measure is slated for action by the full Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday, June 5. With the House and Senate proposals now unveiled, it is clear the two chambers are relatively in sync regarding funding for most transportation programs. The wild card for FY 2015, however, continues to be the looming Highway Trust Fund revenue shortfall that Congress must fill to at least preserve existing levels of investment. Urging Congress to develop a long-term trust fund solution is the top priority of the Transportation Construction Coalition Fly-In that begins June 10.