APTA: Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Transportation Funding Advances in both Houses
On Wednesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, Urban Development (THUD) and Related Agencies approved by voice vote the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 THUD bill. The full Appropriations Committee could consider the bill as early as next week, with Floor action possible sometime in June.
Previously, the full Senate began consideration of its version of the FY 2017 transportation funding bill (S. 2844) on Thursday, May 12. The full Senate was still considering amendments to the bill on Wednesday as we went to press. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill earlier this month.
Both bills generally fund programs administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) close to authorized levels, with programs funded from the Mass Transit Account (MTA) of the Highway Trust Fund funded at levels authorized under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Funding for Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) programs in both bills, which are all from the general fund, are generally funded at levels below those authorized in the FAST Act (see table below for details).
FY 2017 U.S. DOT Approrpriations Bill
Amounts in Millions of Dollars
FY 2016 Enacted
Authorized Funding for FY 2017
FY 2017 House Subcommittee
FY 2017 Senate Committee
FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION (FTA) PROGRAMS
Transit Formula Grants
Technical Assistance and Training
Capital Investment Grants
Total FTA Levels
FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION (FRA) PROGRAMS
Total Amtrak Funds
Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements
Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair
Restoration and Enhancement Grants
Total FRA Levels
Federal Transit Administration
The House subcommittee bill appropriates a total of $12.5 billion for FTA programs in FY 2017, an increase of $743 million over FY 2016 levels. The total includes $9.7 billion for the transit formula grants, which is $386 over funding in the previous year. Formula programs include funding for Urban and Rural Area formula programs, Bus and Bus Facility formula and competitive grants, the State of Good Repair formula, the formula program for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities, Growing and High Density State formulas, and other programs funded from the MTA. All of these programs are funded at levels set in the FAST Act. The measure also provides $199 million from the MTA for implementation of positive train control (PTC) systems on commuter railroads.
The House bill funds the Capital Investment Grants (New Starts/Small Starts/Core Capacity) at a level of $2.5 billion, $323 million more than FY 2016 and $198 million over the authorized level. The House bill provides $5 million for technical assistance and training, and $110.6 million for FTA administration. The bill also includes $150 million for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which is consistent with funding authorized in separate legislation.
The Senate bill, as approved by committee, provided a total of $12.3 billion for FTA programs in FY 2017. The Senate bill includes the same funding levels for formula programs in the MTA, and the same $150 million for WMATA. The Senate bill sets funding for Capital Investment Grants at $2.34 billion, which is $36 million more than authorized and $162 million less than in the House bill.
Both bills include identical language which allows the U.S. DOT to use funds for contracts that include geographic, economic, or other hiring preferences if grant recipients certify certain conditions.
The House bill funds Amtrak at $1.42 billion, $32 million less than FY 2016, and about $82 million less than authorized. The Senate bill provides the same level of total funding for Amtrak.
The bill provides $25 million for the newly authorized Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) grant program, which is authorized under the FAST Act at $190 million. The Senate Committee version of the bill provides $50 million for CRISI grants, but includes language limiting grants to certain safety-related projects. An amendment has been adopted on the floor that expands the types of safety-related projects eligible for funding to now include a range of intercity passenger rail projects.
Additionally, the House bill provides $25 million for Federal State Partnership for State of Good Repair (SOGR) grant program, which was authorized at $140 million under the FAST Act. The Senate bill had provided $20 million for the program. The House bill provides no funding for the Rail Restoration and Enhancement grant program, a new program authorized in the FAST Act at a level of $20 million that was funded at $15 million in the Senate bill.
The House bill includes language, which is not included in the Senate bill, which prohibits the use of funds to administer grant agreements or provide grants for high-speed rail in California. The House bill funds National Infrastructure Investment grants (TIGER grants) at $450 million. The Senate bill provides $525 million for TIGER grants, which were funded at $500 million in FY 2016.