|Both the House and Senate this week made progress toward passing an appropriations bill to fund public transportation programs in fiscal year 2017.
In the House, the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, Urban Development and Related Agencies approved $12.5 billion for FTA — $743 million more than Congress approved in FY 2016 — and about $1.7 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) — $42 million more than Congress approved in FY 2016. The bill now goes to the full House Appropriations Committee, possibly next week, and then to the House floor for a vote in June.
In the Senate, the chamber passed its spending bill by a 89-8 vote. The bill provides more than $12.3 billion for FTA programs and more than $1.75 billion for FRA programs.
The House and Senate bills appropriate the same funding levels for formula grants ($9.7 billion for Urban and Rural, Bus and Bus Facilities, State of Good Repair, Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities, Growing and High Density States, etc.), PTC installation ($199 million), WMATA repairs ($150 million), and Amtrak ($1.42 billion).
Key differences: The House provides: 1) $162 million more than the Senate for Capital Investment Grants ($2.5 billion compared with $2.34 billion); 2) $75 million less than the Senate for TIGER grants ($450 million compared with $525 million); 3) $5 million more than the Senate for FRA’s Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair ($25 million compared with $20 million); and 4) $25 million for Consolidated Rail Infrastructure & Safety Improvements, while the Senate appropriated $50 million. Additionally, the House did not fund Rail Restoration and Enhancement grants (although the Senate provided $20 million for the program), and the House prohibited grant monies from being used for high-speed rail in California.
For more detailed descriptions of both appropriations bills, please click here.