House Passes Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Spending Bill

By Wallace, Mike; Wollack, Leslie | Nation's Cities Weekly, August 3, 2009 | Go to article overview

House Passes Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Spending Bill


Wallace, Mike, Wollack, Leslie, Nation's Cities Weekly


The House recently approved a $123.1 billion bill that would provide $75.8 billion to the Transportation Department and $47 billion to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Both amounts are above last year's enacted levels and the President's FY2010 Budget Recommendation.

The House approved H.R. 3288, the FY 2010 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill by a vote of 256-168. The Senate was expected to quickly follow the House, with a vote scheduled for the Senate Appropriations Committee late last week. No amendments are expected until the bill goes to the full Senate for consideration.

The bill adopted by the House would provide $4 billion in fiscal 2010 for high-speed passenger rail grants, compared to the $1 billion requested by the administration and allow the Department of Transportation (DOT) to use up to $2 billion for a national infrastructure bank, if Congress authorizes the program.

Federal highway programs would be funded at $41.1 billion, as requested by the President, slightly above the 2009 levels. Transit programs would receive $10.5 billion, $148 million above the DOT request and federal airport improvement assistance at $3.5 billion, as recommended by DOT.

The measure also would provide $125 million for the Essential Air Service program (EAS), which is designed to guarantee that small communities receive commercial service. The program maintains air service to those communities and currently subsidizes service for about 150 rural communities

In response to the ongoing housing and foreclosure crisis, the bill would increase funding for low-income housing rental assistance programs. Tenant-based Section 8 rental vouchers would be funded at $18 billion, $1.2 billion more than last year and $406 million above the President's request and Project-based Section 8 vouchers would be funded at $8.7 billion, a $1.6 billion increase over last year.

The bill would fulfill an Obama campaign promise to fully fund the Community Development Block Grant program at $4.6 billion, $700 million above last year.

However, the bill would create additional set-asides within the CDBG program. In addition to existing set-asides for grants to Indian Tribes and insular areas and funding for specific local projects under the Economic Development Initiative, the bill would provide $150 million for a new Sustainable Communities Initiative, $25 million for a new Rural Innovation Fund and $25 million for a new University Community Fund. …

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