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Thursday, September 28, 2023

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House Committee Advances Transportation Bill

The Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Subcommittee swiftly approved legislation that would fund the U.S. Department of Transportation through fiscal 2024.

The legislation would provide $90.2 billion for programs at DOT and Housing and Urban Development.

The bill also allocates $891.3 to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.

The House bill would provide $62 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, $19.5 billion for the Federal Aviation Administration, $14.6 billion for the Federal Transit Administration, $1.4 billion for the Federal Railroad Administration, and $1.2 billion for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Also, the legislation would provide $145 million for the National Transportation Safety Board and $46.9 million for the Surface Transportation Board.

“This bill prioritizes highway, railway, and aviation safety while maintaining housing assistance for our nation’s most vulnerable,” according to the background the Republican-led panel provided.

According to subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the bill will improve safety and efficiency in the United States infrastructure network.

“The bill before the subcommittee responsibly funds our most critical transportation and housing needs, which will have a positive impact on every congressional district,” Cole said.

Later this month, the transportation bill will be considered in the House Appropriations Committee. During this hearing House Democrats are expected to make their opposition.

Both House and Senate leaders expressed interest in advancing fiscal 2024 appropriations this summer.

Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) recently highlighted their bipartisan efforts. “We are determined to continue working together in a bipartisan manner to craft serious funding bills that can be signed into law. Keeping the Senate appropriations process moving full steam ahead and in a bipartisan way is critical,” the senators said in a joint statement last month. “Our nation absolutely must be able to count on a dependable appropriations process as we grapple with urgent challenges at home and abroad.”

President Biden proposed nearly $1 billion for FMCSA in his budget request for fiscal 2024. The White House proposal would also provide $60.8 for the Federal Highway Administration, $17 billion for the Federal Transit Association, $4.8 billion for Federal Roadway Association, and $1.3 billion for National Highway Traffic Safety Association.

At a House hearing earlier this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg urged lawmakers to support Biden’s budget.

“Our transportation system is at a turning point. We are finally in the process of renewing its physical foundations, but we are also grappling with serious vulnerabilities — especially in areas where federal oversight and regulation have been undermined — which pose very real dangers to workers, families and communities,” the secretary said. “In recent years, Congress has proven that it can deliver — on a bipartisan basis — the kind of transformative infrastructure law that evaded our predecessors for decades.”

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