2012 Federal Transportation Bill Enacted

More projects will proceed now that 2012 funding is finalized. (Image courtesy & property of roadtrafficsigns.com)

USDOT will be funded through September 30, 2012, as a result of legislation signed into law on Saturday. The bill was passed last Thursday by the Senate (70-30) and the House (298-121). The legislation was bundled with the Agriculture, and Commerce-State-Justice spending bills, and includes language to fund all other federal agencies through December 16.

The bill text and conference report are now available (transportation sections on pages 225-299 of report). Read about the overall bill in the Washington Post article “House, Senate pass budget bill to avert shutdown.”

Some of the features:

  • Federal Highways: obligation limitation of $39.1 billion (a reduction of $1.9 billion from last year).
  • Federal Transit : $10.6 billion (about $311 more than last year).
  • New Starts/Small Starts capital program: $1.9 billion.
  • TIGER program: funded at $500 million, $27 million less than in 2011.  It’s a victory for transportation stakeholders, but the amount is a drop in the bucket for a grant program that typically has received ten times more applications it can fund.  The 2011 program received 828 applications requesting $14.1 billion, while only $527 million is available. The House had proposed zero funding for the program.
  • National Infrastructure Bank: $0 funding.  The White House had requested $5 billion.
  • Amtrak: $1.148 billion (about $336 million less than last year).
  • High Speed Passenger Rail grants: $0 funding.  The House proposed $0, and the Senate proposed $100 million – a far cry from the President’s request of $1 billion for 2012.
  • HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative: $0. The Senate proposed $90 million, the House $0.
  • Federal Aviation Administration: $12.5 billion. The controversial Essential Air Service, which subsidizes airfares to rural airports, was reduced to include only active airports.

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