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Up to date information on major Federal infrastructure initiatives.
June 22, 2020 Update
prepared by CATHY CONNOR - DIRECTOR OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
This morning, the House Democratic leadership introduced the text of a broad infrastructure bill, the Moving Forward Act (HR 2), which the House plans to take to the floor next week before the July 4 recess. The bill provides over $1.5 trillion for a wide variety of infrastructure-related programs, including the House INVEST Act, a five-year surface transportation reauthorization of the FAST Act which the House T&I Committee approved last week on a party-line vote. The new, broader bill also includes sections on aviation, broadband, drinking and waste water, clean energy, housing, postal service, and schools.
The bill does not include any new user fees or other new revenue sources, but rather includes a transfer of $145.3 billion from the general fund to the Highway Trust Fund - a total of $106.7 billion would be sent to the Highway Account and $38.6 billion to the Mass Transit Account to pay for the surface transportation portion of the bill. The total $1.5 trillion in new federal funding would come on top of the $3 trillion in HEROES Act funding which the House passed last month for COVID-19 relief efforts.
While HR 2 may have enough Democratic votes to pass the House, the Senate has not indicated it plans to move similar legislation and its Republican leadership has expressed serious concerns about continued deficit funding, so the final outcome of this ambitious bill and the pending COVID-19 HEROES Act are unclear at this time.
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Today, the Democratic leadership of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, under Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR), released its long-awaited FAST Act reauthorization legislation. The "Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act" would provide a total of $494 billion over five years (FY'21 to Fy'25) for investments in capital infrastructure improvements such as roads, bridges, and transit and rail systems, with a focus on infrastructure resiliency, emissions reduction, and other climate provisions. The bill is a component of the Moving Forward Framework, previewed by House Democrats in January. It does not include any new revenue mechanisms or other pay-fors, so the House Ways & Means Committee will need to identify how to pay for this proposal. The House T&I Committee will consider the INVEST in America Act during a Committee markup scheduled for Wednesday, June 17.
The bill text can be found here, a factsheet here, and a summary here. Attached to this email is a T&I Committee fact sheet on the Climate Change provisions in the bill and an estimated FY'21 to FY'25 state by state breakdown of highway funding proposed in the House bill.
Key funding provisions:
Summary of key provisions:
A few important points to remember:
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Yesterday, House Democrats released the text of a massive new coronavirus response plan totaling more than $3 trillion setting forth their priorities for the next round of congressional negotiations to deliver more pandemic relief and assistance for a worsening economy. The bill is very ambitious and is already facing criticism from Republicans and even some progressive Democrats over both what it includes and what it leaves out. It is unlikely to pass Congress in its current form, but it is a starting point for negotiations with the Republican-led Senate and the White House. A vote on the House floor could occur as early as this Friday, but more likely would take place next week.
The 1,815-page bill -- dubbed the "Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act" or "HEROES Act," H.R. 6800 (116) -- would, among other things, provide state, local, territorial, and tribal governments nearly $1 trillion. It would also provide another round of $1,200 direct payments to individuals, $10B in additional small business grants, loan forgiveness for certain student loans, funding for the Post Office and Census Bureau, hazard pay for essential workers, additional unemployment insurance, $75B in mortgage relief, as well as various policy changes such as restoring the ability to deduct state and local taxes.
The House bill includes the following transportation funding:
-$11.75 billion by formula to areas over 3 million people with 15 percent distributed under the section 5307 formula program and 85 percent allocated under the section 5337 (State of Good Repair) program. The only eligible recipients are NYC, LA, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, DC, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle.
-$4 billion distributed by US DOT discretion under the Section 5324 Emergency Relief program based on applications demonstrating the need for more money. Contract operations are eligible under this program. Priority is given to those areas with the largest amount of revenue loss as a percentage of operations.
Congress has already mounted a nearly $3 trillion response to the coronavirus pandemic over the course of four separate bills, which will result in an expansion of the federal deficit to nearly $4 trillion this year.
Senate Republicans aren't in a hurry to launch bipartisan negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the party is still "assessing what we've done already," while raising concerns about the toll on the federal debt and focusing on designing liability protections for businesses as states look to reopen their economies in the coming weeks.
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WSP Washington Update - February 11, 2020 - Interim Update - FY'21 Administration Budget Request
The Trump Administration has released its fourth annual budget request to Congress. The Administration's request calls for deep reductions in many domestic discretionary spending programs along with a request for significant additional funding for the Mexican border wall. This is sure to set up yet another budget battle in Congress. As in previous years, Congress is expected to reject many of the requests for cuts in popular federal programs.
Here are some highlights of the President's request for US DOT:
No money is requested as General Fund (GF) supplements for any Trust Fund programs, including additional GF dollars for FHWA ($2.16B in FY'20), FAA's AIP program ($400M in FY'20), and FTA Formula Grants ($510M in FY'20).
FHWA - the budget requests $49.98B for the federal-aid highway program from the Highway Trust Fund compared with the $46.3B appropriated by Congress in FY'20. That funding includes a recommended $1B for the popular INFRA competitive grants program.
FTA - the budget requests only $1.89B for the Capital Investment Grant (CIG) program (New Starts, Small Starts, Core Capacity) - $745M for eight existing New Start projects with FFGAs, $200M for two existing Core Capacity projects, $774M for new unspecified CIG projects that may become ready for funding during FY'21, and $150M for the Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program. See page 37 of the US DOT Budget in Brief for a list of projects recommended to be funded. The money proposed for the CIG program is $89M less than the $1.98B appropriated by Congress in FY'20 which was significantly less than the $$2.55B appropriated in FY'19. There is $11.05B requested for the transit formula program, versus the $10.15B appropriated in FY'20.
Here is a link to FTA's Annual Report on Funding Recommendations for the CIG Program for FY'21.
FRA - the budget requests a total of $1.48BM for Amtrak - $325M for the Northeast Corridor (NEC), $611M for the National Network, and $550M for a new National Network Transformation Grant program to be used to "restructure Amtrak's long distance lines". This is a significant cut compared with the total of $2B for Amtrak that Congress appropriated in FY'20, including $700M in FY'20 for the NEC alone. The budget calls for restructuring the long distance network outside the NEC to focus on shorter distance regional corridors. Other requests include $330M for CRISI competitive grants (versus the $325M appropriated in FY'20), but no money is requested for State of Good Repair grants (versus $200M appropriated in FY'20) and Restoration & Enhancement grants ($2M appropriated in FY'20).
FAA - the budget requests $3.35B (the same amount appropriated in FY'20) for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) for airport capital construction programs.
Ports - the budget proposes to eliminate the port infrastructure grant program which received $225M in FY'20. The Administration believes that port projects should compete for funds through existing programs such as INFRA and BUILD.
BUILD Grants - The budget requests $1B for the BUILD discretionary grant program (formerly called the TIGER program), the same amount appropriated by Congress in FY'20. The Administration proposes to authorize the BUILD program in the next surface transportation authorization bill for the first time.
The current FAST Act surface transportation authorization bill expires on September 30, 2020. Therefore, there is no congressional authorization currently in place for the FY'21 budget cycle. The Trump Administration has not yet submitted a formal reauthorization proposal to Congress, but their FY'21 Budget Request provides an outline of potential funding levels and policy direction that they expect to advocate for during the upcoming reauthorization debate in Congress - see pages 8 to 13 of the US DOT Budget in Brief for more details. The Administration's reauthorization outline recommends $810B over ten years (FY'21 to FY'30) for a surface transportation reauthorization program ($602B for highways, $155B for transit, and $16.6B for rail) without many specifics about how it would be paid for.
In addition to the FAST Act reauthorization proposal, the Administration is proposing $190B in General Funds for the authorization of other infrastructure programs including $60B for a new "Building Infrastructure Great" grant program to fund megaprojects (including highways, transit, rail, ports, pipelines, locks, dams, drinking water, wastewater and broadband), $50B for a new freight program, $35B for a bridge rebuilding program, $20B for a new transit State of Good Repair "Sprint" program, and $6.5B for a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund. Here is a link to an Administration Fact Sheet with more details about the $190B infrastructure proposal.
Information about budget requests for other infrastructure related programs will be reported on shortly.
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This morning, the Democratic leadership in the US House released the outline of a broad infrastructure package called, "Moving Forward Framework". The outline calls for approximately $760B over five years (FY'21-FY'25) for a variety of infrastructure programs including highways, transit, rail, airports, ports, harbors, inland waterways, wastewater, drinking water, broadband deployment, brownfields, and clean energy investments. The largest funding category is $489B for reauthorization of the FAST Act surface transportation legislation (highways, transit and rail) which expires on September 30, 2020.
The proposal includes provisions to tackle climate change through the development of various green infrastructure. However, the plan is largely silent on specific revenue measures that would pay for these investments, other than to mention potential "user based mechanisms" and expansion of federal financing mechanisms such as Build America Bonds, tax credit bonds, tax credits, and Private Activity Bonds (PABs).
The proposed funding levels include (over five years):
Some of the bills needed to implement the proposals have already been introduced as stand-alone bills. The centerpiece, a FAST Act reauthorization bill, is expected to be introduced by House T&I Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) later this spring.
Republicans did not participate in today's announcement despite infrastructure legislation traditionally being a bi-partisan effort. However, House T&I Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-IL) issued a press release which can be found here. The Republicans identified several key principles such as addressing the long-term sustainability of the Highway Trust Fund, incorporating innovative developments in technology , streamlining the project delivery process , addressing the needs of rural communities, prioritizing core programs and functions of existing programs, and ensuring state flexibility. The Republican principles do not directly address climate change, nor do they include recommendations on new revenue.