AASHTO Journal, 15 March 2013
While still dealing with funding issues for the remainder of the current fiscal year, both the House and Senate released separate budget plans for fiscal year 2014, which begins Oct. 1 of this year.
House Appropriations Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his plan Tuesday, beginning with an op-ed piece (originally published in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal) to explain the House plan, which Ryan claims will reduce the deficit by $4.6 trillion through the next 10 years. Though he does not include specific funding levels, the budget does highlight transportation as one area he believes could be cut.
“The mechanisms of federal highway and transit spending have become distorted, leading to imprudent, irresponsible, and often downright wasteful spending,” according to a summary of the budget. The summary went on to talk about high-speed rail, stating “high-speed and other intercity rail projects should be pursued only if they can be established as self-supporting commercial services… The budget eliminates these projects.”
Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) unveiled the Senate’s FY 2014 budget plan Tuesday through a floor speech. The Senate plan includes a $100 billion “targeted jobs and infrastructure package” to help fix the nation’s employment and infrastructure issues, including $50 billion for deteriorating transportation infrastructure.
“Fixing those crumbling roads, bridges, and airports, as well as updating our mass transit, will not only create jobs in the short-term, it will also reduce the time families have to sit in traffic, help small businesses deliver goods to their customers quicker and cheaper, and lay down a strong foundation for long-term economic growth in communities across the country.”
In addition, the package would allow for $10 billion to fix dams, dredge, and maintain ports. Another $10 billion would go to the creation of an infrastructure bank to leverage more investment for projects from the private sector.
President Obama released a statement Wednesday citing support for the Senate budget proposal.
“It’s a plan that doesn’t dwell on ongoing debates, but rather moves our country forward by making investments critical to our middle-class security—like education, manufacturing, and rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges—while looking for waste, fraud, and savings throughout government,” Obama said.
The House Rules Committee is expected to consider its budget on Monday, while the Senate Budget committee approved Murray’s budget Thursday by a vote of 12-10 (along party lines), though Murray must wait until the CR is taken care of before her budget can be considered by the full Senate.
The full House FY 2014 budget plan can be found here. Legislative text of the measure is available here. The Senate budget plan is available here and the legislative text of the measure is available here.