Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Transportation Bill; House Budget Committee Holds Hearing on Infrastructure

On September 19, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to approve the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) appropriations bill for FY2020. The legislation drew full bipartisan support, resulting in a unanimous 31-0 vote to send it to the full Senate.
The measure directs $86.6 billion to the Department of Transportation (DOT), which represents a $167 million increase from FY2019 spending. Highlights from the bill include:
  • BUILD Grants - $1 billion for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grants.
  • Highway -$46.3 billion from the Highway Trust Fund will be allocated to the Federal-aid Highway Program in accordance with the FAST Act, with an additional $2.7 billion in discretionary appropriations for highway programs.
  • Transit - $13 billion to fund the Federal Transit Administration, with transit formula grants in the amount of $10.1 billion from the Highway Trust Fund. $560 million more Is directed from the general fund towards transit grants.
  • Safety – The measure will fund transportation safety programs/agencies within DOT, including $972 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
On September 25, the House, which already passed its T-HUD appropriations bill out of committee on June 6, emphasized the importance of infrastructure investment in a hearing held by the House Budget Committee. Titled, “America’s Infrastructure: Today’s Gaps, Tomorrow’s Opportunities, and the Need for Federal Investment,” the hearing examined the economic costs of aging and underperforming infrastructure, falling levels of federal investment, and the need to reverse these trends with increased federal funding/financing. APWA member and Director of Houston Public Works Carol Ellinger Haddock, P.E. provided expert testimony on behalf of the American Society of Civil Engineers.