By Lauren Schapker, vice president of legislative affairs, ARTBA
The ARTBA co-chaired Transportation Construction Coalition (TCC) called for strong investment in federal transportation construction programs in a year-end spending package in a Nov. 25 letter sent to congressional leaders. Both sides of Capitol Hill expressed interest in passing year-end spending bills to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2021.
ARTBA and the TCC have been urging supplemental spending be provided to transportation programs, above levels authorized in current surface transportation law. The three prior appropriations bills for Fiscal Years 2018, 2019, and 2020 provided $15.8 billion in additional direct capital spending for highway, public transportation, and airport programs. The Senate proposed spending bill would continue this trend, proposing an additional $4.5 billion in direct capital spending for these programs. The House-passed version includes even greater spending levels, though they were tied to the passage of a new surface reauthorization bill that never came to fruition.
Negotiations are ongoing and finalizing a year-end spending package is the top priority for Congress before heading home for the holidays. ARTBA will continue ongoing advocacy efforts for increased funding levels until a final agreement is signed into law.