Congress Aims at Fiscal Year Spending Bill; Some Have Eyes on TIGER Grants

AASHTO Journal, 14 November 2014

The U.S. Capitol.

Members of Congress returned to their Washington, D.C., offices on Nov. 12 to begin a lame duck session, focused on getting a new government-wide fiscal 2015 spending plan in place before short-term budget authority runs out Dec. 11.

Along the way, lawmakers could set full-year spending levels for U.S. Department of Transportation programs, and either make small cuts in the DOT’s TIGER infrastructure grant fund as a Senate bill seeks or sharply reduce that grant pool as a House bill would do.

The DOT’s Highway Trust Fund programs would continue to be funded around current levels under separate bills out of House and Senate Appropriations committees. But TIGER and some transit spending are outside the protected trust fund along with Amtrak passenger rail spending.

The House voted last summer for a 2015 DOT spending bill that would slash TIGER from a $600 million grant pool in the 2014 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, to just $100 million for the year ahead. The Senate committee voted for a $550 million TIGER program in the 2015 budget year.

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