On March 21, 2013, the House passed the Senate-amended version of H.R. 933, the FY'13 full-year continuing appropriations (CR), by a vote of 318 to 109, clearing the measure for the President, who signed the bill into law in advance of the March 27 expiration of the existing CR. The Senate passed the amended bill on March 20 by a vote of 73 to 26. The bill funds all federal agencies through the end of the fiscal year - September 30, 2013.
Below is information about the final FY'13 funding levels for various transportation and other infrastructure programs. Here is a link to the transportation section of the bill - Title VIII of Division F.
Final FY'13 Funding
Highway Obligation Limit
$39.69B - MAP-21 authorized level
Airport Improvement Program (AIP)
Transit Formula and Bus
$8.47B - MAP-21 authorized level
Transit Capital Investments - New Starts
$1.95B minus 5% sequester = $1.86B
Amtrak Capital and Debt
$952M minus 5% sequester = $909.9M
Clean Water Loan Fund
Drinking Water Loan Fund
Right before adjourning for the November 2012 elections, Congress passed a six-month Continuing Resolution (CR) to provide continued government spending from the October 1 start of the new fiscal year through March 27, 2013, therebyavoiding any fears of a government shutdown before the elections which both parties could be blamed for. It is a "clean" CR, meaning it does not include any extraneous provisions or "riders". It provides partial-year FY'13 funding based on the current FY'12 funding levels (plus an additional $8B government-wide). Unfortunately, the funding levels in the CR do not reflect the slightly higher FY'13 levels authorized for highway and transit programs in MAP-21.
On June 29, 2012, the House voted to approve the FY'13 THUD (DOT) appropriations bill, HR 5972. Only a few transportation-related amendments were offered on the floor and most were rejected by voice vote. Many of the amendments were offered by fiscally conservative Republicans and focused on cutting funding for various DOT programs, particularly administrative expenses for several of the US DOT modes. Of concern was an amendment, ultimately defeated in a recorded vote, to cut the $150M for DC's WMATA capital investment program.
House action is now complete. The Senate must still pass its version of the bill on the Senate floor.
Here is a link to the Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) on the House bill, which OMB released on June 21. It states that the Administration opposes the THUD bill and staff would recommend a veto. The Administration primarily objects to a number of the HUD provisions in the bill, but is also opposed to the lack of funding for the TIGER and High-Speed Rail programs.
On June 19, the full House Appropriations Committee approved the FY'13 DOT Appropriations bill. Neither bill includes any project earmarks.
House FY'13 Comte Passed
Senate FY'13 Comte Passed
FHWA Ob Limit
Transit - New Starts/SS
Transit- Formula & Bus
Amtrak - Capital and Debt Service
$1.45B includes $500M for tunnels & bridges
Amtrak - Operating
High Speed Rail
Airport Improvement Program
National Infrastructure Bank
On June 7, the House THUD Appropriations Subcommittee approved the FY'13 DOT funding bill. In an unusual move, the Senate acted on its version of the FY'13 DOT appropriations bill before the House did, and both the sub and full committees passed the Senate bill in late April, however, the bill has not yet been brought to the Senate floor.
The House bill funds the highway program at $39.14B, the same level as the current program and the Senate bill, but $2B less than in FY'11. The House bill includes language saying that if a surface transportation authorization bill passes soon and authorizes higher funding levels, the appropriators would revisit their bill. Both the House and Senate bills fund the FAA's Airport Improvement Program at $3.35B, the same as the current level and both bills fund the DC WMATA Capital Program at $150M.
The House bill does not provide any funding for the popular TIGER discretionary program versus the $500M in the Senate bill and does not provide any funding for high-speed rail versus the $100M in the Senate bill. Most observers assume the Senate will restore the TIGER money in the final bill. The House did provide significant funding for Amtrak -$1.80B, a program they have tried to zero out in the past, including adding an additional $500M for Amtrak bridges and tunnels.
The transit New Starts program is cut to $1.82B which is $138M less than the current program and $227M less than the Senate bill level of $2.04B. The House also proposes to fund BRT projects out of the New Starts pot as opposed to the Senate proposal and the current program to fund BRT projects from the Bus Formula program. The FTA Formula program is proposed to be funded at $8.36B in both bills, the same as current funding.
Here is a link to the text of the full House bill and a link to a summary of the bill.
On April 19, the full Senate Appropriations Committee voted to approve the FY'13 THUD (DOT) annual funding bill. The bill was marked up in subcommittee on April 17. The Senate DOT appropriations bill includes:
FHWA - $39.1B for the highway obligation limitation, the same as FY'12
FTA - $10.4B for the total transit program including $2.04B for the New Starts/Small Starts program, a $89M increase over FY'12, and $8.36B for the formula grant program, the same as FY'12.
FAA - $3.35B for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), the same as FY'12
Amtrak - $1.45B, the same as FY'12, although less than the $1.55B the Administration requested and the $2.17B Amtrak requested
High Speed Rail - $100M, there was no money appropriated for HSR in FY'12
TIGER V - $500M, the same as FY'12, with $120M of that amount reserved for projects in rural communities
HUD - $50M for the Sustainable Communities Initiative, there was no money appropriated for this program in FY'12
There are no project earmarks in the bill.
While congressional leaders have indicated they expect both the House and Senate to pass most, if not all, the annual appropriations bills out of the respective bodies, it is unclear if the bills can be reconciled in conference before the end of the fiscal year on September 30 or before Congress adjourns in early October for the elections. It is likely that many federal agencies will have to be funded under a Continuing Resolution (CR) until Congress meets after the elections in a Lame Duck session.
The Administration issued its FY'13 Budget Request on February 13, 2012.
The $74B US DOT budget request is based on the assumption that Congress will pass a six-year $476B surface transportation authorization bill (down from a similar $555B proposal last year), however neither the House nor the Senate are currently considering such a bill. The Administration proposes to pay for the program using one-half of the six-year savings from ramping down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a plan first mentioned by President Obama in his State of the Union address that has not garnered much interest in Congress.
It seems unlikely this budget request will be embraced by Congress.
Highlights of the budget recommendations include:
FAA - The budget includes $3.35B for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), the same amount recently authorized by Congress, although below the $3.5B funded in FY'11. However, the DOT budget also indicates that if Congress were to approve an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC), the recommended amount for the AIP program would drop to $2.4B. However, the recently passed four-year FAA authorization bill does not include a PFC increase.
FHWA - The budget request includes a highway obligation limitation of $41.83B, an increase of $2.7B over the current FY'12 funding level, but only slightly above the previous FY'11 level. There does not appear to be a request to fund a National Infrastructure Bank as there has been in past budgets. Neither the pending House nor Senate surface transportation reauthorization bills include a National Infrastructure Bank. The budget requests $500M for the TIFIA loan program.
FTA - The budget requests a total of $10.84B for transit programs, an increase of $233M over FY'12. The budget proposes the same programmatic restructuring as last year which Congress has generally rejected in the pending House and Senate reauthorization bills. This makes it difficult to compare current funding with the Administration FY'13 recommendations.
See page 30 of the DOT Budget in Brief for a list of the New Start/Small Start projects that US DOT is recommending to fund. The list includes $1.17B for 12 projects which currently have FFGAs, $696M for five projects with Pending FFGAs, $70M for one project newly recommended for an FFGA, $120M for three "Other" capital investment projects and $127M for eight Small Start projects. Including greater funding for Oversight, the total recommended for the Capital Investment Program is $2.23B.
FTA is expected to release its FY'13 Capital Investment Program/New Starts Report Tuesday or Wednesday.
FRA - The FRA budget request is also difficult to compare with the current programs because US DOT merges the high-speed intercity passenger rail program with Amtrak and divides the total funding into Network Development and System Preservation programs. The FY'13 budget request includes $1B for high-speed intercity passenger rail and $1.5B for Amtrak. In addition, the Administration is requesting $4B in supplemental funding in current FY'12 funds for high-speed rail which Congress is not likely to approve. High-speed rail continues to be a top priority for the President and Secretary LaHood; however, in FY'11 and FY'12 Congress did not appropriate any funds for this program.
TIGER - The FY'13 budget includes a $500M request funding for a TIGER-like discretionary grant program. In addition, US DOT is requesting $4B for a similar TIGER program as a supplemental FY'12 appropriation which Congress is unlikely to support.
RITA - The budget recommends moving the existing Research & Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) to a new Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research & Technology, bringing it under the direct oversight of the Secretary.