By David Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA
The Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriation Subcommittee April 19 approved an FY 2017 transportation funding bill that would boost highway investment by $900 million (to a record $43.4 billion) and transit investment by $575 million (to $12.3 billion). The funding increases adhere to the investment levels called for by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.
While the FAST Act authorizes federal highway and public transportation spending through FY 2020, the resources must still be provided during the annual appropriations process and there is no guarantee the law’s investment targets will be delivered. As an example, the FY 2016 transit capital program appropriation fell $124 million less than the amount authorized by the FAST Act.
The Senate proposal would also increase funding for the Obama Administration’s TIGER grant program by $25 million to $525 million. TIGER Grants provide federal general funds for a wide array of multi-modal transportation projects.
The full Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to act on the transportation funding legislation April 21.