AASHTO Journal, 6 June 2014
Weeks after the House Appropriations Committee approved a $71 billion annual funding package for the U.S. Department of Transportation in fiscal year 2015 (see related AASHTO Journal story here), the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved its own bill, which would provide $72 billion for transportation next year. This measure also provides $36 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The bill, according to the committee’s summary, includes $40.3 billion for the Federal-aid Highway program; $550 million for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants; $1.4 billion for Amtrak; $11.1 billion for transit programs; $15.9 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration; and $834 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The passed measure also included an amendment by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that would remove two recent regulations on service hours for truck drivers that deal with driver overnight provisions and mandatory rest time. Collins’ amendment was passed by a vote of 21-9.
“This bill will help us build and maintain our transportation infrastructure, including highways, aviation, transit, and rail. Transportation programs funded in this bill support economic development and job creation and make it possible for people to travel safely to work and businesses to move their products to market,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) said in her opening statement during the markup. “Reliable, safe and rapid transportation is key to our ability to compete in the global market. This is a good bill that preserves our commitment to assist the most vulnerable while also providing necessary investments in our infrastructure and communities.”