Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

House Okays Record Spending for Transportation

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

House Okays Record Spending for Transportation

Article excerpt

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a record $55 billion to fund federal transportation programs. The legislation (HR 4475) moved swiftly through the House Appropriations Committee and considered on the House floor without major controversy, The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to act on its version of the bill this month

The spending measure provides a $5 billion increase for transportation programs, and funds NLC-supported priorities such as Amtrak. The increased funding incorporates funding the guaranteed levels of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21) and the recently passed Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR 21).

The measure also includes $3 billion in higher than estimated gas tax receipts collected from consumers last year. Under TEA 21, any additional gas tax funds collected in a given year must be spent on TEA 21 programs the next year.

President Clinton's budget suggested the additional $3 billion be diverted from the core highway formula programs, whose funds are sent directly to state and local governments, to fund Administration priorities such as high speed rail development, Indian reservation roads, and a new Mississippi Delta region infrastructure initiative. The Appropriations Committee rejected these proposals.

The bill provides:

* $30 billion total for highways, a $1.9 billion increase and $340 million more than the President's budget request;

* $12 billion total for aviation, an increase of $2 billion and $784 more than the President requested in his budget, including $3. …

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