Image courtesy of Stacy and Witbeck.
By David Bauer, senior vice president of government relations, ARTBA
The House Appropriations Committee May 24 unanimously passed legislation that would increase highway investment by $900 million in FY 2017 and boost transit spending by $670 million. The FY 2017 transportation appropriations bill not only adheres to the highway investment level called for in the 2015 FAST Act surface transportation program reauthorization, but would provide $160 million more for transit capital spending than the FAST Act authorizes.
The House proposal would also continue Airport Improvement Program (AIP) investment at the $3.35 billion level that has been in place since FY 2012 and provide $450 million for the Obama Administration’s TIGER Grant Program that supports a variety of multi-modal transportation projects. The measure has not yet been scheduled for consideration by the full House of Representatives.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed its version of next year’s funding bill for the U.S. Department of Transportation May 19. The specific transportation investment levels proposed by each chamber are listed below.
Like its Senate counterpart, the House bill also includes common sense limitations—sought for the second consecutive year by ARTBA and AGC of America— on an Obama Administration push to allow state and local governments to impose geographic, economic and other hiring preferences on federal-aid highway and public transportation projects. The measure would allow the U.S. Department of Transportation to approve such hiring preferences only if the recipient agency certifies: the existence of a sufficient qualified labor pool in the jurisdiction; that no existing workers would be displaced; and no planned projects would be delayed due to associated cost increases.